Zinedine Zidane led a Real Madrid training session for the first time since contracting coronavirus, while club president Florentino Perez has tested positive for COVID-19.

Madrid head coach Zidane was forced to undergo a period of self-isolation and has not been in the dugout since the shock 2-1 defeat to Alcoyano in the Copa del Rey two weeks ago.

Since then, Los Blancos have beaten Deportivo Alaves 4-1 and suffered a surprise 2-1 loss against Levante in LaLiga.

Madrid have slipped to third and sit 10 points adrift of leaders Atletico Madrid, who still have a game in hand, but Zidane has a full week to prepare for their next outing against Huesca on Saturday.

Although Zidane was back on the training pitch, Sergio Ramos, Lucas Vazquez, Rodrygo and Federico Valverde were only with the group for part of the session.

Dani Carvajal trained indoors while Nacho Fernandez remained at home after testing positive for COVID-19, a fate shared by Madrid president Perez.

A brief club statement read: "Real Madrid would like to inform that our president Florentino Perez has tested positive in the COVID-19 tests that he periodically undergoes, although he is not showing any symptoms."

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has called for urgent reforms of football’s structure in response to financial challenges caused by COVID-19.

Perez revealed the Spanish giants had suffered a 13 per cent loss of revenue as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and insisted Real Madrid would be one of the driving forces in remodelling the football landscape.

UEFA had previously held discussions about making sweeping changes to the Champions League format starting from the 2024-25 season, with Europe's elite clubs said to be pushing for fewer matches and additional revenue.

Those talks did not progress after push back from clubs and national leagues opposing a European Super League, but Madrid chief Perez believes fans will suffer if football does not find a new direction quickly.

"Nothing will be like it was before," Perez told Real Madrid's club members during their online annual general assembly.

"The pandemic obliges us to make football more competitive. We must innovate and look for formulas to ensure football remains attractive."

He added: "Everyone is arguing for a remodelling of world football.

"There is a saturation [of games] and our fans, who are the most important thing we have, suffer. 

"Football reform cannot wait. The biggest clubs in Europe have millions of fans spread across the world. We have the responsibility to fight for this change."

Plans for a lucrative breakaway competition involving Europe’s highest-profile clubs were revived in October, according to media reports, with banking powerhouse JP Morgan said to be involved in the talks.

UEFA firmly opposed the project, but Perez says impact of COVID-19 should only hasten football's response to reforming its schedule.

"The reality is that all big football clubs are suffering this significant financial blow and we're not immune to it either," he said.

Iker Casillas has revealed he is hoping to return "home" to Real Madrid in a non-playing capacity after being made an offer by president Florentino Perez

The Spain legend announced his retirement last week, having not played a game since suffering a heart attack in training with Porto on May 1 last year.

Goalkeeping great Casillas progressed through Madrid's youth ranks and made 725 appearances for the club before departing on a sour note after falling out with Perez five years ago.

However, Casillas is now on far better terms with Perez and the 39-year-old has confirmed reports that he could be on his way back to Santiago Bernabeu in an advisory role.

"Nothing is closed yet, but I hope that my new stage will be at Real Madrid," he told Semana magazine. "The departure from Real Madrid was traumatic, but it's my home.

"We broke up, like when a marriage separates and you say everything and there were things that were badly said and out of context, but time passes and everything calms down.

"Once two or three years had passed, I had a calmer relationship with Florentino and he told me, 'you have to be here'.

"Now in August, we'll talk because Real Madrid is my home and my life. Florentino recently called me to make an offer and now, when I return to Madrid, we will talk."

World Cup-winning keeper Casillas was previously in the running to take over as president of the Spanish Football Federation, only to pull out of the race in June.

"I had almost won my candidacy, but political reasons weighed more heavily," he said. "There was an uneven fight and I decided to withdraw."

Florentino Perez is sure Sergio Ramos will end his career at Real Madrid after leading them to their 34th LaLiga title on Thursday.

Los Blancos' 2-1 victory over Villarreal secured their first league title since 2016-17 as they brought great rivals Barcelona's grip on the trophy to a close.

Ramos was influential throughout the campaign, scoring five times in the previous 10 LaLiga games, to collect a fifth title-winners' medal.

The 34-year-old is out of contract at the end of next season and said he would like to finish his career with Madrid, though admitted it was dependent on what Perez wanted.

The club president is also keen for Ramos to end his playing days in the famous white shirt.

"Ramos will surely end his career at Madrid," Perez told Movistar.

"Although there is talk of that, it will not change, everyone is calm. He is more than a captain. He has led the team with enormous leadership."

Perez also hailed coach Zinedine Zidane for bringing the title back to the Spanish capital.

Zidane won LaLiga and three successive Champions Leagues in his first stint as boss and only returned in March last year after answering an SOS from Perez.

Though Madrid have not always been as thrilling to watch as in recent seasons, Perez knows the importance of the Frenchman.

"He has won a title every 19 games," he said.

"It is a blessing from heaven and that he is with us for a long time.

"They criticise him for what they want. We will continue to win titles."

Madrid have been relentless since the restart following the coronavirus-enforced break, winning all 10 of their matches, and Perez has been impressed by the team's consistency.

"We have trained well and we have had the mentality to return with the desire to win this title," he added.

"The strength we had has been seen by everyone. It will go down in Madrid's history."

Florentino Perez believes Lorenzo Sanz deserves "the greatest recognition" from Real Madrid, promising a tribute will be made to the former president at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Sanz, who was club president at Madrid between 1995 and 2000, died at the age of 76 after contracting the coronavirus.

In a statement on the club's website, current president Perez highlighted the success Madrid enjoyed under Sanz, who presided over two Champions League triumphs, including the 1998 title that ended a 32-year wait for glory in Europe's top club competition.

"Today, we remember Lorenzo Sanz, who has fallen victim to this tragedy," Perez said.

"He was the president who gave us Madridistas the long-awaited European Cup after a 32-year absence. We Madridistas will forever remember him as the president who brought hope and joy flooding back on the 20th of May 1998 in Amsterdam.

"La Septima was ours. It was then followed by La Octava two years on, in the year 2000 in Paris, as Real Madrid returned to its rightful position in football's history books.

"Beyond those two European Cups, under his tutelage, the club also clinched one Intercontinental Cup, one LaLiga title, a Spanish Super Cup, a basketball league title and Cup Winners' Cup."

Perez said Sanz still attended Madrid matches regularly and was present to witness the club's four Champions League triumphs between 2015 and 2018.

He had been admitted to hospital with coronavirus-like symptoms and his son, Lorenzo, announced his death on social media on Saturday.

Perez added: "We've lost a fine Madridista who dedicated a large part of his life to what was both his and his family's greatest pleasure: Real Madrid.

"Here at the club, we'll do all we can to honour his memory and legacy, to pay him the tribute that all of Madridismo craves. Lorenzo deserves the greatest recognition.

"A tribute to him in our Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, where he continued to attend every game in order to stay close to his team. For now, as we all know, this is not possible, but we will of course ensure it takes place in order to enshrine his memory in the minds of new generations of Madridismo."

Real Madrid and Bayern Munich face a struggle to compete with Premier League giants because of the financial muscle of top English clubs, admits Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.

The Bayern chief executive says domestic television deals have created a major distortion in wealth between many teams in mainland Europe and those in England.

Speaking at the SPOBIS 2020 business event, Rummenigge also said there was "no need for change" when it comes to the Champions League after recent talk of expansion.

He spoke from experience when he pointed to how Premier League clubs have been able to attract the best players, the best coaches and create the most profitable academies.

And Rummenigge also stated how even 13-time European champions Real Madrid, whose president Florentino Perez he knows well, find it worrying to look at the money flooding into English teams.

"I think Florentino Perez's problem is the Premier League," Rummenigge said. "With Real Madrid he belongs to the world's most prominent club, because it's the most successful one and you have to admit it is also incredibly strong in terms of star power.

"However, his problem is the Premier League because it receives three times more money from domestic TV stations than all of us. No matter if it's Spain, Germany, France etc.

"That's why they have an undeniable advantage in the transfer market."

Rummenigge is full of admiration for how English teams have spent their money, by strengthening not only their squads but infrastructure too.

"The English clubs did well, one has to admit. In step one, they bought good players; in step two, they went out for good coaches, for instance Jurgen Klopp who has tremendous success at Liverpool; and in step three they gathered quality in management.

"They used their bigger income in comparison to other leagues to develop their quality. Their youth work has become a benchmark.

"And no matter in which country, or which city we play in, we all try to keep up with the English clubs, which is not easy."

Bayern sit second in the Bundesliga after 19 games of this season, a point behind leaders RB Leipzig, and are chasing an eighth consecutive title.

They last won the Champions League in the 2012-13 season, with Real Madrid triumphing four times since then, Barcelona winning in 2015 and Liverpool scooping last term's trophy.


The format of the Champions League is ripe for debate, with reports indicating the European Club Association is urging UEFA to include more rounds of fixtures in a push for expansion.

Rummenigge, though, as a major power broker with one of Europe's most powerful clubs, stressed there is no good reason for an overhaul.

"There is no need for change," he said.

"So far no one has come to me and said, 'We need to make drastic changes'. This radicalism that is being discussed at the moment is going too far.

"We need to respect the clubs and see if they are satisfied or if they are in need of change. How do the fans see it, how do the viewers on TV or even the TV stations?

"That's why I don't see a necessity. My press officer Stefan Mennerich has a nice saying - 'Don't fix, what ain't broken'. And the Champions League is everything but broken."

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez described head coach Zinedine Zidane as a "blessing from heaven" after his latest final triumph.

Zidane has won each of his finals as Madrid coach, taking his tally of successes to nine with a tense victory against Atletico Madrid in the Supercopa de Espana on Sunday.

Madrid won 4-1 on penalties after a goalless draw, scraping to a shoot-out after Federico Valverde was sent off for a cynical foul on a goalbound Alvaro Morata late in extra time.

This was the first title of Zidane's second stint as Madrid boss - the first returning three straight Champions League wins - but Perez is confident the Frenchman is ready to deliver further success.

"[Zidane] has plenty of trophies and we're very happy for him," Perez said, as reported by Marca. "I hope that he wins more trophies.

"Zidane has a loving relationship with Real Madrid. He decided to rest for a year and now he's returned with renewed energy. Zidane is a blessing from heaven."

Perez felt the triumph at the King Abdullah Sports City Stadium in Jeddah was particularly impressive given the absence of a number of key men, including Eden Hazard, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale.

"We came here without some great players like Hazard, Benzema and Bale," he said. "Zidane has been able to put together a team and we won the trophy.

"I think that we're on the path to finding ourselves again after a little dip. New people have come in who have given the team intensity and we're on a good path."

But Perez reserved some praise for goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who saved from Thomas Partey in the shoot-out.

"We brought [Courtois] here because we believe that he's the best goalkeeper in the world, and he has been," Perez said. "He was one of the key players in the victory."

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