Angel Correa and Yannick Carrasco were on target as Atletico Madrid returned to the top of LaLiga with a 2-0 win over relegation-threatened Huesca.

Correa struck twice in a 5-0 thrashing of Eibar on Sunday and he opened the scoring at the Wanda Metropolitano on Thursday with a deflected strike.

Carrasco eased the nerves with a second goal - his third in as many matches - 10 minutes from time to put Atleti three points clear of Real Madrid with six games to go.

Diego Simeone's Atletico side ought to have won by a more emphatic margin a day after they confirmed their withdrawal from the collapsed European Super League.

Yet Dimitrios Siovas should have given Huesca a shock third-minute lead when he shot straight at Jan Oblak from close range after Atleti failed to deal with a free-kick from the left.

Alvaro Fernandez produced a sharp double save at the other end to deny Carrasco and Saul Niguez, and then Correa opened the scoring six minutes before the break.

The in-form forward turned sharply after taking a pass from Marcos Llorente and beat Pablo Insua before finding the back of the net with a deflected left-footed strike.

Atleti picked up where they left off following the interval, with Fernandez making himself big to keep out Koke's effort from close range.

The busy Huesca goalkeeper was called into action again to palm Renan Lodi's drive away for a corner as Simeone's men continued to dominate.

Sergio Gomez came agonisingly close to equalising when his free-kick flashed wide of the post before Fernandez beat away another effort from Niguez.

Carrasco gave Atleti breathing space, tapping in after Llorente unselfishly squared the ball as Huesca appealed for offside. The goal was awarded following a VAR check.

Dani Escriche should have pulled a goal back in the closing stages when he stabbed wide from point-blank range, as Huesca's survival hopes suffered a blow.

Barcelona said it would have been an "historical error" not to sign up for the European Super League and the club remains convinced structural reform is needed to protect the financial future of football.

The Blaugrana were announced on Sunday as one of 12 founding members of the highly controversial breakaway league, which received widespread criticism due to the closed-shop nature of the competition.

Less than 48 hours, all six of the Premier League teams that had agreed to sign up all withdrew their participation following a fierce backlash from fans, players, supporters, the Football Association and the UK government.

Atletico Madrid and Serie A rivals Milan and Inter later followed suit, seemingly leaving the league dead in the water before it even took off the ground.

But Real Madrid president Florentino Perez and Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli – leading figures in the Super League – both launched a staunch defence of a competition they remain convinced has to happen as clubs struggle to contend with the economic impact caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Newly re-elected Barca president Joan Laporta earlier said the lucrative Super League was "absolutely necessary" and a club statement struck a similarly pleading tone about their belief that change is a must.

"FC Barcelona shares the view of most major European football clubs, and even more so given the current socio-economic climate, that there is a need for structural reforms to guarantee the financial sustainability and feasibility of world football by improving the product that is offered to fans around the world and by consolidating and even increasing the fan base on which this sport is sustained, which is its mainstay and greatest strength," the statement began.

"In this context, the FC Barcelona Board of Directors accepted, as a matter of immediate urgency, the offer to form part, as the founding member, of the Super League, a competition designed to improve the quality and attractiveness of the product offered to the football fans and, at the same time, and as one of FC Barcelona's most inalienable principles, seek new formulas for solidarity with the football family as a whole.

"The decision was made in the conviction that it would have been a historical error to turn down the opportunity to be part of this project as one of its founding members. As one of the world's top sports club, our intention shall always be to be at the forefront, this being an indispensable part of the club's identity and its sporting, social and institutional spirit."

Despite the project seemingly being left in tatters, Perez insisted the project the Super League is "not dead" in an interview with Spanish radio station El Larguero.

Barca said more analysis is clearly needed but said such examination must take place in the absence of "unjustified pressure and intimidation".

The statement added: "Given the public reaction that the aforementioned project has generated in many and various spheres, there is no question that FC Barcelona appreciates that a much more in-depth analysis is required into the reasons that have caused this reaction in order to reconsider, if necessary, and to the required extent, the proposal as originally formulated and resolve all those issues, always for the good of the general interest of the football world. Such in-depth analysis needs time and the necessary composure to avoid taking any rash action.

"We feel it is equally important to highlight the objective fact that a Court of Justice has already granted urgent legal protection as requested, thus confirming right of the initiative on the part of the founding clubs of the Super League project.

"In this regard, FC Barcelona considers that it would be improper for the necessary process of reflection and debate to be established under criteria of unjustified pressure and intimidation.

"Despite being perfectly aware of the importance and interest raised by this matter, as well as the need to always act with the utmost transparency, FC Barcelona shall act at all times with due prudence and asks for the utmost understanding, respect and most of all patience among FC Barcelona supporters and public opinion in general."

President Javier Tebas insists LaLiga will not punish Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid for launching the European Super League, as "these clubs have been sanctioned by their own fans".

Spain's three biggest clubs said on Sunday they would be involved in a controversial breakaway competition that looked set to rival the Champions League.

But those plans fell through within just two days as pressure applied to England's 'big six' prompted them to back out, soon followed by Atleti.

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez remains committed to the project, even if there is no clear route forward, while Barca's Joan Laporta still claims it is "absolutely necessary".

UEFA had threatened to banish clubs and players who signed up to the Super League, which was criticised for its closed nature. Talk of punishment has since dissipated, however.

At domestic level, calls for the six Premier League clubs to be deducted points have so far brought no result.

And Tebas, who declared the Super League "dead", has now confirmed LaLiga will not sanction Madrid, Barca or Atleti, suggesting each was already embarrassed by the response to their grand plans.

"We are not talking about sanctions," Tebas told the media on Thursday. "Everyone wants to cut people's heads off. We have to have a procedure and we have to see how it looks in the end. We have to see how it all works out.

"I'm talking about other types of agreements. We shouldn't rush into anything. I think a very important thing is that these clubs have been sanctioned by their own fans. Their reputations have been affected."

That did not prevent Tebas from criticising the clubs, though, adding his voice to those questioning comments from Perez.

The Madrid chief claimed the proposals would help the rest of the football world, but Tebas feels secretive meetings suggest otherwise.

"They can't tell us they're coming to save us from ruin," Tebas said. "It's not true. Nor that they do not harm national competitions. They do, economically and sportingly. If it was that good for football, they wouldn't have done it behind our backs."

Tebas was speaking as LaLiga released a statement confirming the clubs that were not invited to join the Super League had followed their Premier League counterparts in voting "unanimously and vigorously" against the competition.

"The opposition shown globally in recent days has shown that a closed and elitist European league is unworkable and unwanted," it read.

Aleksander Ceferin says Florentino Perez is "the president of nothing" and believes the controversial European Super League was "an attempt to create a phantom league of the rich".

On Sunday, Real Madrid president Perez was named as chairman of the hugely divisive competition, with Los Blancos named among 12 founding members planning to play in a breakaway league.

However, just two days later, Premier League clubs Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City and Tottenham all pulled out amid a huge backlash from the Football Association, the UK government, fans, pundits and players.

Despite the competition crumbling before it got off the ground, Perez launched another staunch defence when speaking to Cadena SER's El Larguero radio show late on Wednesday, having earlier this week stated the Super League was vital for the future of clubs struggling financially in the COVID-19 pandemic.

UEFA chief Ceferin believes Perez and other presidents should not be solely blaming the coronavirus crisis for huge losses, making pointed remarks in an interview with Slovenian broadcaster Pop TV.

"I might want to say something else that Perez said earlier – clubs have losses, but also because they are poorly run," Ceferin said.

"If you overpay players, unsuitable players, and therefore do not achieve a result, it means a loss to you. 

"For example, Bayern Munich have no losses and have won the Champions League. You cannot just blame COVID-19, which many do.

"Perez is the president of a Super League that didn't exist. At the moment he's the president of nothing.

"Perez would like a [UEFA] president that will listen to him and a president that will do as he tells him. But I am trying to work in European and world soccer's best interests.

"I'm actually horrified that by being enormously rich, profit means so much more than values. You can tell lies; you can enter players and the coaches into a new competition without them knowing anything about it."

Perez insists the idea of the Super League is not dead in the water, but Ceferin remains convinced it was little more than a power play to try to protect the interests of football's richest clubs.

"In my opinion, the Super League never existed," Ceferin added.

"It was an attempt to create a phantom league of the rich that wouldn't follow any system, that wouldn't take into account the pyramid structure of football in Europe, its culture, tradition or history."

Perez bizarrely cited a lack of interest from the younger generation among reasons for wanting to form the league, even suggesting matches could be shortened from the current time of 90 minutes.

But Ceferin again disputed the point, adding: "Young people are very interested in a football match, it's completely clear to me.

"The fact is that football is a sport, it's a passion, a school of life, you can learn a lot from football. I learned a lot from football myself.

"You can't look at football as a product, you can't look at the players as customers or consumers, you can't look at how many you have in your account or how many new followers you have on Twitter instead of the result after the game. This has become common with certain big club owners and they have simply lost touch with reality and reality was clearly shown in the UK 24 hours or so ago."

Real Madrid president Florentina Perez has revealed that the club has agreed a new contract with Luka Modric.

The 35-year-old Croatian midfielder, who joined Madrid from Tottenham in 2012, is out of contract in June.

Reports in January alleged that a new deal between Modric and Madrid had been agreed although nothing had ever been announced.

Perez confirmed those reports on Wednesday when discussing the European Super League, while also providing an update on out-of-contract Sergio Ramos.

"[Modric] has already signed or we have reached an agreement a long time ago," Perez said.

"Ramos is not in the same situation. We have spoken many times but I do not know, I do not want to blame anyone."

Perez refused to be drawn on 35-year-old club captain Ramos' future.

"I love him as if he were my son, I have done everything I could for him," Perez said.

"I am not going to tell you anything about Sergio Ramos. We are trying to close this season. Then we will talk about the next one."

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane has heaped praise on Karim Benzema after his double in Wednesday's 3-0 win at Cadiz lifted Los Blancos into top spot in LaLiga.

The France international striker took his LaLiga season tally to 19 goals, closing within four strikes of league top scorer Lionel Messi.

Benzema converted a penalty on the half hour, before adding Madrid's third in the 40th minute.

"I’m delighted with how he’s performing," Zidane said post-game. "We know how important he is to our game and not just because of his goals.

"He makes the guys around him play, we enjoy watching him and I hope Real Madrid can continue enjoying him for a long time to come."

Madrid's win moves them ahead of Atletico Madrid on goal difference for the time being although Atleti are due to play on Thursday against Huesca.

Zidane was delighted to see his side sitting top of LaLiga albeit temporarily while also being through to the Champions League semi-finals.

"We’re still alive in both competitions and we keep going," Zidane said.

"We’ve picked up three very important points to keep us in the race, but there’s still a long way to go."

Zidane also praised his side's defence, having only conceded twice in their past six matches in all competitions.

He deployed a three centre-backs against Cadiz, with Marcelo and Odriozola getting up and down the flanks as wing-backs to good effect.

"We haven’t conceded a goal for three games and that’s pleasing for me," Zidane said.

Luka Modric was absent for the game with a back issue although Zidane was hopeful he would be in contention for the weekend's league game against Real Betis.

"He felt something in his back but I don’t think it’s anything serious," Zidane said.

"We’ll see how he feels tomorrow and I hope he can be back with us straight away."

Florentino Perez continued his staunch defence of the European Super League on Wednesday, despite the proposed breakaway competition having crumbled before it started.

Real Madrid president Perez had been appointed as the chairman of the competition, which was announced with 12 founding teams and to widespread criticism on Sunday.

Perez spoke on Monday about a need to change football, with clubs struggling financially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, while he also cited a lack of interest in the game from younger generations.

Yet his words did little to appease the furore and, on Tuesday, the six English clubs involved in the competition all pulled out amid pressure from the Premier League, Football Association (FA), UEFA and the UK government.

The owners of Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal and Manchester City all offered apologies to their fans for their part in the plans. 

Atletico Madrid, Inter, Milan and Juventus subsequently pulled out on Wednesday, albeit Perez has claimed the latter two remain committed.

Yet Perez insists he will not let the proposals die, and is adamant that there must be drastic reform to football, maintaining the European Super League was put together as a plan to save the game.

Speaking on the El Laguaro radio show following Madrid's win over Cadiz, Perez said: "We were working last night until late. We have been working many years on this project. We have not explained it very well, perhaps.

"They have not given us a chance either. Some do not want anything to happen. It cannot be that in England, the six lose money, and 14 make money. In Spain the top three lose money, and the others make money. It cannot continue – at the moment the rich are those who are losing money.

"I am a bit sad, disappointed. We have been working three years on this project, on fighting the current financial situation in Spanish football. You cannot touch LaLiga, so you look for more money midweek and the Champions League format is obsolete.

"I have never seen aggression greater on the part of the president of UEFA, it was orchestrated, it surprised us all. Insults and threats, as if we had killed football. 

"We are just working on saving football. We have worked very hard on something that would satisfy everyone.

"There was a campaign, totally manipulated, that we were going to finish the national leagues. That we were ending football, it was terrible. But we were working for football to survive.

"If you think the Super League is dead, you're absolutely wrong."

Perez was also bullish in the face of UEFA and FIFA's condemnation.

"Reality is reality. Look at the TV records, and how many people watch big games, and how many people watch the other games. We have to be real," he said.

"That new Champions League format in 2024 has no meaning. No one can understand it. We need a new format to create more money. Young fans don't watch football, they have other hobbies.

"I talk to [Joan] Laporta, Barcelona are still with us. Juventus did not leave. I'm not scared of FIFA or UEFA."

Concluding, Perez also stated that no club would be able to afford major signings at the end of the season.

"It's impossible to make signings like [Kylian] Mbappe and [Erling] Haaland without the Super League," he said. "Not just for us, there will be no big signings, for any club, without the Super League.

"When I took over, Madrid could not pay its players. We changed the world with the Galactico signings. Now after COVID-19, things have to change again."

Karim Benzema delivered a sensational performance as Real Madrid beat Cadiz 3-0 to move top of LaLiga.

Madrid president Florentino Perez was perhaps in need of a distraction after spearheading widely condemned plans for a proposed – and now suspended – European Super League in recent days.

Zinedine Zidane refused to comment on the issue during his pre-match news conference and, though Madrid's off-pitch troubles look set to rumble on, they were superb on the field on Wednesday.

Benzema starred, scoring twice in the first half either side of Alvaro Odriozola's header to secure a convincing win which sees Los Blancos leapfrog would-be Super League rivals Atletico Madrid.

Perhaps inspired by Leeds United's act of defiance before Monday's Premier League clash with Liverpool, Cadiz's players wore t-shirts protesting the premise of a Super League prior to kick-off.

Yet Madrid hardly seemed affected, and their quality told in the 30th minute.

Referee Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz initially failed to spot Isaac Carcelen's foul on Vinicius Junior, but changed his decision after consulting with VAR, and Benzema buried the resulting penalty before turning provider for Madrid's second goal when he crossed for Odriozola to head in. 

Benzema should have had his second assist when he cushioned a header down for Casemiro, only for the midfielder to blaze over.

However, Benzema made no such mistake when Casemiro returned the favour with a delicate cross – the Frenchman glancing a deft header into the left-hand corner.

Anthony Lozano, who scored in the reverse fixture, should have pulled one back for Cadiz before the hour, but headed wide from three yards out.

Benzema's sublime flick through to Marcelo almost crafted another Madrid goal, but the visitors settled for three as Zidane claimed a win which means he has now beaten all 28 LaLiga teams he has faced as Madrid boss.

Real Madrid would be a worthy next step for David Alaba to take when he leaves Bayern Munich, according to team-mate Joshua Kimmich.

Alaba announced in February that he will leave the Bavarian giants at the end of the season, bringing an end to a 13-year association with the club.

Reports in Germany suggest the 28-year-old has already reached an agreement to join Madrid on a deal that runs through until the end of 2025-26.

While official confirmation of a move has yet to be made, Kimmich has endorsed the proposed transfer.

"He has won everything here, even multiple times," Kimmich told Sky Sport. "Twice the triple, once even six titles in one year. Real is in any case a worthy club. 

"There aren't many steps you can take after playing for Bayern but Real Madrid isn't that bad as the next step."

Alaba has made 427 appearances for Bayern since making his senior debut in February 2010, scoring 33 goals and setting up another 45 in all competitions.

The Austria international is not the only high-profile figure set to leave the Allianz Arena at the end of the season, with fellow defender Jerome Boateng also on his way out.

Head coach Hansi Flick last week announced his desire to leave at the end of 2020-21, meanwhile, having been strongly linked with the soon-to-be-vacant Germany job.

Kimmich, capped 53 times by Die Mannschaft, would welcome to appointment of Flick as his national team boss.

"If things go as they seem, I hope he takes charge of the national team afterwards," he said.

Bayern are 10 points clear at the top of the Bundesliga with four games to go after beating Bayer Leverkusen 2-0 on Tuesday.

The Atletico Madrid players have released a statement to "convey our satisfaction" after the club withdrew from the European Super League.

Atletico were among 12 clubs who announced plans for the controversial new competition on Sunday.

But the tournament – a rival to the Champions League but with guaranteed participation for its founding members – quickly came under scrutiny.

Anger from fans, players, coaches, governing bodies, governments and the media soon prompted England's 'big six' to back out. Atleti followed, along with Inter and Milan.

Koke, the Atleti captain, posted on his Twitter page on Wednesday: "From the Atletico Madrid squad, we want to convey our satisfaction about the final decision to renounce the Super League project made by our club.

"We will continue fighting to help Atleti grow from our position through the values of effort and sporting merit that have always characterised us, so that all of you continue to see yourself reflected in those signs of identity.

"We continue to work hard, focused on the game tomorrow."

Speaking before Thursday's LaLiga clash with Huesca, Atleti coach Diego Simeone had earlier backed the club both in their decision to pursue the Super League and then to step back.

"I understood that the club was going to decide what was best for the club," he said. "The club has looked at our fans, employees, players, president – the Atletico family."

Simeone added: "We understand that this situation [the withdrawal] is good for everyone. We all belong to football – before being footballers and coaches, we are fans."

Diego Simeone was not prepared to criticise Atletico Madrid chiefs nor the premise of the European Super League following the proposed competition's collapse but backed the decision to withdraw.

Atletico were one of the 12 founding clubs to initially sign up for the tournament, which was announced on Sunday, but their plans crumbled within 48 hours.

The backlash was significant on Monday and then Tuesday proved pivotal, as English clubs took note of the passionate response from fans, media, players and coaches.

Manchester City became the first to withdraw, followed by Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United and Tottenham. Atletico, Inter and Milan followed on Wednesday

Atletico boss Simeone did not take the opportunity to openly criticise the plans during a press conference on the eve of Thursday's LaLiga clash with Huesca, as Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola did in previous days, but accepted it was the right decision.

Speaking of his talks with Atletico CEO Miguel Angel Gil Marin, Simeone said: "Going into what he told us is not appropriate, but we saw doubts about this situation and what happened later, last night, when the clubs began to leave the Super League.

"I was told after the last game, I understood that the club was going to decide what was best for the club. The club has looked at our fans, employees, players, president – the Atletico family."

When pressed for his own opinion, Simeone added: "Listen to what I said before. I was clear, concrete and true. There is nothing to hide.

"I was one of the first to be consulted after the match and I said that I absolutely trusted the club because they were going to do what was best for the club. We understand that this situation [the withdrawal] is good for everyone. We all belong to football – before being footballers and coaches, we are fans.

"They have known me for a long time, I do not like demagoguery or taking advantage of situations to strengthen myself.

"What I think, I tell the people I have to talk to. I do not like to express myself here."

Simeone still expects the events of the past few days to contribute to significant change in European football.

"Faced with seismic movements like this, something is going to change, for sure, I have no doubt," he said. "And for the better, don't get me wrong.

"When there are movements, the parties will have to get closer and find what everyone wants or wanted before."

Ronald Koeman does not believe Barcelona's involvement in the collapsed European Super League will have an impact on the title run-in in LaLiga.

Barca were among 12 elite clubs - three of them from Spain - to sign up for the controversial new continental competition over the weekend.

But by Tuesday night, the tournament - a rival to the Champions League - had collapsed after England's 'big six' pulled out and others followed.

The Blaugrana were said to be considering their position ahead of the first U-turn from Manchester City, although no announcement of the Catalan club's withdrawal had followed at Camp Nou by Wednesday when Koeman faced the media.

The head coach was speaking ahead of Thursday's home game against Getafe.

Barca head into the midweek round of fixtures third in LaLiga, five points behind leaders Atletico Madrid and two shy of Real Madrid but with a game in hand over both.

Although Atleti and Madrid were each also part of the Super League plans, it was put to Koeman that his players might be distracted in their pursuit of the championship.

"I don't agree," he replied. "Players want to win titles, I have no doubt about my players. We're going to be fine at tomorrow's game."

Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli - a key Super League figure - has accepted defeat in their breakaway bid, but Koeman was reluctant to comment on Barca's status as "no one knows what can happen".

"I spoke to the president yesterday and he explained the club's position," Koeman said.

"There's been so much movement that it's best not to have an opinion. No one knows what can happen and we have to wait. I want what's best for the club.

"I'm not the spokesman, it's the president. My job is to prepare the game. There is so much movement with this topic that we have to wait for how this ends.

"I'm not surprised. We want what's best for the club. If there's anyone who needs to talk about this, it's clearly the president.

"I don't know if they asked the players; I'm not interested. We're playing a game tomorrow."

Even those coaches critical of the Super League - like Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola - have highlighted issues with UEFA, which is pressing ahead with its own expanded Champions League.

Koeman said: "The number of matches is incredible. [The players] have had to play a lot of competitions.

"Everyone is talking about the Super League, the Champions League... but UEFA is not heeding players about the number of matches. All they care about is money.

"In LaLiga, anyway, tomorrow we play at 22:00 [local time]. We have to protect the players."

Getafe won 1-0 in the reverse fixture earlier this season but have never done the double over Barca, who have since turned their season around.

Prior to their Clasico defeat last time out in LaLiga, Koeman's side were unbeaten in 19 in the competition. An undefeated run at home stretches back 12 games.

Barca have scored 69 times in the league, their joint-lowest tally through 31 games in the past 13 seasons but also the highest mark in the league this term. Lionel Messi (23) alone has netted more goals than Getafe.

The Blaugrana also bounced back from the loss in Madrid by winning 4-0 against Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey final on Saturday.

"The image of the team the other day in the final was very good, the attitude and the level of play," Koeman added.

"It's not just a title. We've been improving things for a while, and I think, according to a lot of people, they're happy.

"We're working well, but in a club it depends on the results. What we're doing is a big thing."

Jose Mourinho has been out of work less than 48 hours but speculation of his next job is already mounting.

The Portuguese has already declared he is "ready to go again", despite a sizeable pay-out from Tottenham.

Tottenham sacked Mourinho on Monday with Spurs sitting seventh in the Premier League.

 

TOP STORY – MOURINHO ENTERS CELTIC COACHING RACE

Mourinho is in the mix to be the new coach of Scottish powerhouse Celtic according to The Sun.

Former Bournemouth coach Eddie Howe is the favourite to be appointed Neil Lennon's replacement at Celtic Park.

But 'The Special One' is in contention, despite his hefty wage demands and line of suitors.

 

ROUND-UP

- Bayern Munich's David Alaba has agreed a five-year deal with Real Madrid with the contract to be signed in the coming weeks according to Sky Sports.

- Departing Manchester City forward Sergio Aguero has been offered a two-year contract by Barcelona according to TyC Sports.

- Football Insider reports Aston Villa may enter the race for Jesse Lingard who has enjoyed a super loan spell at West Ham United from Manchester United.

- Manchester United defender Eric Bailly is wanted by Spanish LaLiga club Real Betis claims The Sun.

- Julian Draxler is ready to leave PSG with a return to his homeland to join Bayern Munich his preference reports Foot Mercato.

Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane deflected questions about the proposed breakaway European Super League, insisting it was a matter for president Florentino Perez.

Madrid were among 12 clubs to announce their involvement in the controversial new competition on Sunday.

Los Blancos have been European champions a record 13 times, but this tournament would rival the Champions League.

The anti-competitive nature of the format, which would mean the 12 'founding clubs' could not be demoted, has been widely criticised, yet Zidane would not give his opinion.

Speaking ahead of Wednesday's game against Cadiz, the coach said: "That's a matter of one person, of the president.

"I'm here to talk about the game, not to talk about other things. The rest is not my job."

UEFA could yet attempt to expel Madrid, along with fellow semi-finalists Chelsea and Manchester City, from this season's Champions League.

The idea of banning Super League players from international football has also been mooted.

But Zidane, who refused to give an opinion again when asked if he had spoken to Perez, insists his squad are not distracted by the matter.

"We don't talk about it in the locker room," he said. "We have a game to get right."

While there is uncertainty around how the remainder of this season might play out, as well as Madrid's involvement in competitions going forward, Zidane is determined his players will keep pushing to win LaLiga.

A goalless draw against Getafe at the weekend saw the champions lose ground in the title race, slipping three points behind leaders Atletico Madrid.

Having held Liverpool in Europe in their previous match, Los Blancos could have three consecutive 0-0 draws for the first time since March 2006.

And Cadiz beat Madrid 1-0 in the reverse fixture earlier this season. They are the only LaLiga opponents Zidane has never defeated and could become the first promoted side to achieve a league double against Madrid since Real Burgos in 1990-91.

But Zidane is not ready to concede the title, adding: "We've been here eight months and [people say] it's all over. I was on the street, the players were worthless...

"And that's never the case. The important thing is that there is life. We're competing, which is what we like, and we're going to compete until the last day.

"Whatever happens, we're going to compete until the last day. I don't know if we're going to win, but we're going to put all the strength in it."

Zidane confirmed Madrid would again be without record signing Eden Hazard, who has not featured since March 13 due to a calf injury.

The €100million winger has played just 646 minutes across 14 games in all competitions this season, scoring with three of his 14 shots and creating six chances and a single assist.

Former Real Madrid president Ramon Calderon was frustrated to see 12 elite clubs plotting a European Super League at a time when football needs "solidarity and unity".

Madrid were among a dozen teams to announce their involvement in a new breakaway competition on Sunday.

The lucrative tournament would be a rival to the Champions League, but the 12 "founding clubs" would compete every year and could not be demoted.

While reigning European champions Bayern Munich and Ligue 1 giants Paris Saint-Germain have not yet signed up, which Calderon says is "really important", this threat to the sport's structure comes as clubs attempt to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

For this reason, Calderon - the main man at Madrid between 2006 and 2009 - finds the plans particularly painful.

"The first thought that came to my mind when I read the news about this announcement was that perhaps it came at the worst moment in football history," he told Stats Perform News.

"Many clubs are suffering, are struggling financially because of the pandemic. I think football needs more than ever solidarity and unity to overcome this problem.

"So, I think it's bad news for football and I hope that common sense comes back to everyone and they manage to sort out this situation in the best way possible."

COVID-19 has made money particularly tight at Madrid, where they are also renovating the Santiago Bernabeu.

"Maybe this is the money we need to sort out all the problems we are having and we are facing in the next few years," Calderon suggested.

But UEFA's threat to deny Super League players the opportunity to represent their countries at international level could yet derail the proposals, according to the ex-Madrid chief.

Calderon said: "If that really happens, if they fulfil their threats, I'm sure the clubs will reconsider going on with the project.

"It's impossible if UEFA and FIFA ban clubs and players in the way they have [said] in their statements. I find it difficult that they'd go on with the project."

But that is not the only problem for Calderon, who believes Super League clubs would quickly find their existence tedious playing the same opponents without additional leagues and cup competitions.

"I think they already have the opportunity to see those teams playing against our team," he said.

"But also in our country, and I think in other countries it's the same, fans want to travel to other stadiums, they want to win [against] their neighbours. There's a rivalry always between the clubs from the same country.

"And also there's something interesting nowadays that any club can win three or four competitions, or at least, compete to win them.

"With the Super League, there'll only be one champion. The others won't get a trophy. That's another thing that I don't think they've taken into account.

"Now Barcelona is out of the Champions League, but they won the [Copa del Rey]. So, if they play in the Super League, they'll only be able to win one title.

"That's another interesting thing for fans, for players and for clubs."

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