Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane said he was "delighted" for Karim Benzema after the star forward surpassed Ferenc Puskas on the club's all-time scorers list.

Benzema scored a brilliant brace to inspire a 3-0 LaLiga win over 10-man Valencia at Madrid Castilla's Alfredo Di Stefano stadium on Thursday.

After opening the scoring just past the hour-mark, Benzema completed the victory in stunning fashion with four minutes remaining – rifling a volley past Valencia goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen following Marco Asensio's 74th-mintue effort.

Benzema's two-goal display in the Spanish capital took his tally to 243 goals for Madrid across all competitions, leapfrogging club great Puskas (242) for fifth on the all-time list.

"It was a great goal, for the move and the finish – I'm delighted for Karim's goals," Zidane said after Madrid moved back within two points of leaders and rivals Barcelona.

It was a memorable outing for Asensio, who marked his long-awaited return by scoring with his first touch against Valencia.

Asensio sustained an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury last July and returned to the pitch as a 74th-minute substitute on Thursday – the Spaniard's impact immediate.

"This means a lot for him. We're happy to see him back on the pitch," Zidane said. "After so many months out, to come back and score a great goal in his first involvement makes me really happy.

"He was already happy just to get out on to the pitch and then he was able to score straight away, which shows he is already involved."

Eden Hazard also impressed for Madrid – the Belgium star combining with Luka Modric to tee up Benzema for the opening goal in Madrid.

Injury and fitness have hampered Hazard's maiden Madrid campaign, but the former Chelsea attacker showed glimpses of why Los Blancos invested so heavily in the 29-year-old.

"This was a really good game from Hazard," Zidane added. "Physically, he was good and played 80 minutes. Sometimes you might think he's starting to look tired, but then he picks up the ball and sprints away."

Madrid remain within touching distance of Barca with nine matches remaining in the coronavirus-impacted 2019-20 LaLiga season.

On the title race, Zidane said: "We know that it will be like this until the end, but today we can be happy because of what we've done in the game.

"They are the ones fighting; we have to enjoy and congratulate the players because it was a complete game and then think about the next game against Real Sociedad."

Barca will face third-placed Sevilla on Friday and Zidane added: "We depend on what we are going to do, knowing the situation. I'll watch the game, but I don't have the idea in my head that Barcelona will slip up; we have to think about ourselves."

Real Madrid are happy with how Achraf Hakimi has performed on loan at Borussia Dortmund, head coach Zinedine Zidane said.

Achraf, 21, joined Dortmund on a two-year loan deal in 2018 and the full-back's future has become a talking point after impressing with the Bundesliga club.

The Morocco international is due to return to Madrid, but has also been linked with a move to Bayern Munich.

Zidane said he was pleased by what Achraf, who made 17 appearances for Madrid before his departure, had delivered at Dortmund.

"We know the season that he is doing, and I am happy for him, because in the end he needed to go out, play, make many games, and that is what he is doing," he told a news conference.

"I think that all of us here [at Madrid], and they there [at Dortmund], we are happy with Hakimi."

Achraf has scored nine goals and provided 10 assists in 44 games for Dortmund this season.

Zinedine ZIdane has no issues with adapting to the new, condensed Champions League format to take place in August, should Real Madrid progress past Manchester City.

Madrid were defeated 2-1 by City at Santiago Bernabeu in the first leg of their last-16 tie in February, before football across Europe was put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Matches in Europe's top leagues – bar France, with the Ligue 1 season having been cancelled – is now returning, with the Bundesliga having restarted in May and the Premier League, Serie A and LaLiga also returning to action this month.

On Wednesday, UEFA officially confirmed the Champions League campaign would be concluded with an eight-team competition to be held in Lisbon in August.

Quarter-final matches will take place from August 12-15, with the semi-finals on August 18 and 19 before the final at Estadio da Luz on August 23. The outstanding last-16 fixtures – including Madrid's tie with City – are to be held on August 7-8, though it is yet to be decided where these games will take place.

And Zidane believes the solution proposed by UEFA is the best way to complete this season's competition.

"We are living a special moment and everything will be special," Zidane told a news conference ahead of Madrid's LaLiga clash with Valencia.

"We know the format, how it will be, but we still do not know where we will play the return leg against City.

"We will adapt. If it has to be in Lisbon or Manchester, we will play. First we are going to try to progress against City.

"The important thing is to play again and we are happy, but this formula for the Champions does not seem bad to me.

"I like it. It's okay to decide everything in the same place."

Madrid resumed their LaLiga campaign with a 3-1 defeat of Eibar on Sunday, though Zidane acknowledged there was plenty of room for improvement.

However, Zidane does not believe Madrid have an issue upping their game against the lesser sides in LaLiga.

"We had a game where we started very well, we scored two or three goals in half an hour," he added.

"We found it difficult afterwards to maintain throughout the game, which is what happened against Eibar. 

"This is a very difficult league. I have emotions and I can be a bit upset when things don't go well, but we scored three goals and we played with intensity."

Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane is planning to "take it slowly" with Marco Asensio, but said the midfielder would have a role to play this season.

Asensio was an unused substitute as Madrid returned to action with a 3-1 LaLiga victory over Eibar on Sunday.

The 24-year-old suffered a serious knee injury in pre-season but is now available for Madrid, who moved back within two points of rivals and league leaders Barcelona.

Zidane has no plans to rush Asensio, but said he would be using the Spain international.

"We're happy to have Marco back available and we'll take it slowly," he said.

"We have lots of players, Asensio is in good shape and I'm going to use him. I wasn't able to today, but there are other games to come and he has to be ready just like any other player.

"I'll be counting on him."

Madrid are in action again with a clash against Valencia on Thursday.

Zinedine Zidane was happy to see Eden Hazard impress as Real Madrid made a winning return in LaLiga, saying the Belgium star was even glad to have endured some robust challenges.

Hazard started the match at the Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium on Sunday as Madrid won 3-1 against Eibar to move back to within two points of league leaders Barcelona.

Injury problems have blighted Hazard's first season at the club since his €100million move from Chelsea and there were concerns his campaign was over when he fractured his ankle in February.

The coronavirus-enforced break gave the forward more time to recover and he looked sharp in the first half against Eibar, setting up Sergio Ramos for the second goal and playing a key role in Marcelo's third.

Hazard was on the receiving end of some strong challenges and was substituted after 61 minutes, but head coach Zidane had few concerns.

"We knew Eden would lack a bit of rhythm to play the whole game. In the end, he played an hour and played well, too," he said.

"They gave him a good knock, a scare, but that's football. He said he was fine at the break, that he was glad he had been hit, and wasn't afraid. He's happy with what he did and we're happy, also."

Toni Kroos broke the deadlock in the fourth minute as Madrid dominated the first half, but their standards slipped after the break and Eibar threatened to make life difficult after Pedro Bigas deflected in a shot from Pablo De Blasis.

"It's a completely different thing to what we were experiencing before. We have to adapt," said Zidane.

"We started the game well, but it was difficult in the second half. I don't think it was physical, because we are well prepared. It was a bit of everything.

"I'll take the first half – that was dominant. It's an important win.

"Maybe we relaxed in the second. There was no one thing in particular. We had to make the changes: [Dani] Carvajal sprained his ankle, Ramos had discomfort too, Hazard because he hadn't played for a long time... I don't think it was the changes that made the game change."

Karim Benzema looked particularly sharp and combined well with Hazard in the first half, leading to a question as to whether the forward has followed a particular diet to come back in such lean shape.

"I don't know his diet, but Karim takes great care of himself, like most players," said Zidane. "He's happy to play again. I hope he keeps it up – we need him.

"It's wonderful to see them communicate and I have to talk mostly about the second goal, which came from a pass from Eden to Ramos."

Zinedine Zidane is thrilled to have Eden Hazard and Marco Asensio fully fit again following significant injury lay-offs, but he could not guarantee Luka Jovic will recover before the end of the season.

Hazard and Asensio have both had miserable seasons, with the Belgium international enduring a continued battle with fitness problems, while the Spaniard is yet to make an appearance after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament in a pre-season friendly.

Hazard suffered an ankle fracture in November, ruling him out for almost three months, and he then cracked his fibula shortly after returning.

Had the season not have been suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, the former Chelsea star – who joined Madrid in a reported €100million deal last year – would have been expected to be out for at least another eight weeks.

But, as Madrid prepare to return to action at home to Eibar on Sunday, Zidane confirmed both Hazard and Asensio are available once again, potentially a significant boost as Los Blancos attempt to chase down pacesetters Barcelona, who go to Real Mallorca later on Saturday with a two-point lead.

"The good thing is they had the same time to prepare as the rest of the team," Zidane told reporters on Saturday.

"Asensio's injury was a bit more serious and required longer rehabilitation, but both are available, they'll be there for the team to help us and it's good news to have them back."

Zidane was again asked about Hazard's condition and the Frenchman affirmed the winger is completely recovered, though Jovic may not return anytime soon.

The Serbian forward broke his foot in May and Zidane was unable to guarantee he would be able to play again in what has been a disappointing first season at the Santiago Bernabeu for the former Eintracht Frankfurt star.

"On Hazard, I'm happy he's back and fully fit, he has re-joined the group and he can play and help us. The bad news is Jovic's injury," he said.

"He injured himself at home. It was unfortunate, obviously, because now it will keep him away from the pitch.

"We don't know for how long for, but we'll see. It's bad news of course – we hope he is back as soon as possible and before the season is over."

One of the new temporary measures brought in for the end of the season following the enforced hiatus is a substitutions increase from three to five.

Critics have suggested this will benefit the bigger clubs with deeper squads, though Zidane does not see it making a major difference to anyone.

"I don't think anyone will benefit immensely," he added. "It's a different rule, we have to adapt to it and if we have five substitutes then we'll adapt to that.

"As I say, I have 23 players available and I'll try to adapt to it. The circumstances are strange and obviously we have to take that into account, but we adapt to whatever we need to adapt to. We're ready for everything."

The return of LaLiga will be particularly special for Real Madrid as it will see Zinedine Zidane reach 200 games as head coach.

The former midfielder, now in his second spell in the dugout, is third on the all-time list of matches in charge of Los Blancos in all competitions, behind only Vicente del Bosque (246) and Miguel Munoz (605).

Few could argue against Zidane's achievements. Once the best footballer in the world, he guided Madrid to three consecutive Champions League triumphs – an unprecedented feat in the modern competition – along with seven other trophies, including two UEFA Super Cups, two Supercopas de Espana, two Club World Cups and the 2016-17 LaLiga title.

He has also won 131 of his 199 matches as Madrid boss, a record few contemporaries can match in European football. Add a few more to that tally before the end of this season, and a second LaLiga title could follow – provided they can overhaul Barcelona's two-point advantage at the top.

There are, however, some reasons to be concerned. While few Madridistas dispute Zidane's pedigree, there is an undeniable decline in the numbers since he first took over from Rafael Benitez in January 2015.

Using Opta data, we take a look at the state of play...

A SLIPPERY SLOPE

In simple terms, Madrid's results are, on average, on the decline.

Zidane secured 21 victories from 27 games in all competitions after taking charge in January 2016 – a win rate of 77.7 per cent. That has dropped year on year and now stands at 54 per cent if you combine the 11 games of last season, when he took over from Santiago Solari, and 39 games in 2019-20.

Defeats have crept up in number, from just two in 2015-16 to six this term, the peak being nine in 62 games in 2017-18.

Few were surprised when Solari was sacked last term, but he actually managed  22 wins from 32 games – a rate of 68.7 – and averaged more goals per game ( 2.21 compared to 1.86 ) than Zidane has since.

A BLUNT FORCE

Madrid fans have a certain expectation when it comes to attacking football, but those demands are not being fully satisfied.

Zidane's side averaged 2.6 goals per game in his first 27 matches in charge and that increased to 2.8 in 2016-17, when they scored 173 times in all competitions en route to a league and Champions League double. In the 50 games since his return last year, that average has dropped to 1.86.

Madrid's shot conversion rate during Zidane's second spell is 11.52 , again the lowest it has been with him in charge. So too are shots per game ( 16.14 ) and shots on target per game ( 6.16 ).

The obvious factor here is the loss of Cristiano Ronaldo, who left for Juventus in 2018, but Madrid have also spent this season largely without Gareth Bale, Marco Asensio and Eden Hazard, while Luka Jovic has been a big disappointment. The burden has fallen almost solely on the shoulders of Karim Benzema, who has scored a commendable 19 in all competitions this term and created more chances than anyone else in LaLiga ( 44 ).

ON SOLID GROUND

It does seem the attack is where the problems lie. Defensively, Madrid are coping well enough.

Captain Sergio Ramos is now 34 and Marcelo appears past his best, but their defensive strength as a whole is on a similar level to previous seasons.

Since Zidane's return, Madrid have faced 9.4 shots per game on average, with 3.3 of those on target. Both of those are the lowest such figures seen under the Frenchman.

Madrid have only conceded 19 goals in LaLiga in 2019-20, which is the best record in the division. They are letting in fewer than a goal a game on average for the first time since 2015-16.

A few more goals at the other end could swing the season back in their favour.

PASSING THE BUCK

If the attack is to get firing again, better use of the ball is paramount.

Madrid average 58.39 per cent of possession in their games this season, which is in line with years gone by, as is their passing accuracy and passes-per-game rate. It's what they do with the ball that holds them back.

Including assists, they have created 635 chances since Zidane's return – a rate of 12.7 per game. That's the lowest it has been since before 2016.

Again, personnel problems have counted against Zidane. Hazard was signed from Chelsea for €100million to fill a creative void, but injuries have ruined his first season in Spain. Likewise, Asensio has been out since last May, James Rodriguez is out of favour, Isco has been in and out of the team and Luka Modric's top-level career looks to be winding down. Federico Valverde has been a revelation in midfield, but playmaking is not his forte.

It's not all doom and gloom, and it's certainly not all Zidane's fault, but he has some work to do if this is to be remembered as a successful – if strange – season, and if his next 200 games are to herald similar glory as his first.

Karim Benzema is convinced Real Madrid will hit the ground running when they resume their LaLiga campaign, highlighting Zinedine Zidane's emphasis on "enjoyment" following the coronavirus-enforced hiatus.

After a three-month suspension to the season due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Madrid will return to the pitch on June 14 when they host Eibar.

LaLiga has been allowed to recommence behind closed doors thanks to the threat of the virus decreasing, and Madrid look set to push Barcelona all the way in the title race.

Barca resume the season two points clear of their bitter rivals, but Benzema is certain Los Blancos are ready for the challenge and they have relished being back in full training, with Zidane putting focus on ensuring the players are enjoying their work.

Benzema told Real Madrid TV: "Zidane's message is enjoyment. Enjoy playing football. We have had more contact with the ball than last week.

"We did more fitness last week and now, as we are closer to the restart of LaLiga, we have been using the ball more.

"The adaptation has been very good, step by step. It is much better here with our team-mates and with the ball, because it is more difficult to do so at home. It is more about the gym and fitness.

"Two months without a ball makes things tougher when you are back, but we are fine now, and we will keep working together with the ball. For instance, we have played a game today [Tuesday] and it's been very good for everyone.

"We can't wait to restart the competition and it's very important to win games. The first game against Eibar at home will be very important. So, we will give our best until the end."

The absence of supporters will be more peculiar for Madrid – who are used to playing in front of up to 80,000 people in the capital – than most, particularly as they are set to play home games at the Alfredo Di Stefano stadium, the 6,000-seat home of the Castilla side, to allow construction work to proceed on the Santiago Bernabeu.

Benzema, though, believes the team will still feel the love from those watching at home.

"It will be different, for sure," said the striker. "We always need our supporters.

"However, we will have our fans here and hopefully all of them will be in front of a TV supporting us, that's all.

"We know we have to win the games because they are very important for us and for the club and we will be at our best."

Real Madrid have two reasons to remember May 24 fondly, while cricketer Nasser Hussain is also unlikely to ever forget the date.

Madrid have lifted the Champions League trophy twice on this day in sporting history, beating familiar opponents on both occasions.

As for Hussain, the former England batsman bowed out with a final innings that was perfectly scripted (well, except for his involvement in an untimely run out).

Take a look back at the major moments to occur through the years.

 

2000 - Madrid prevail in all-Spain final 

Madrid and Valencia made Champions League history in Paris, as two clubs from the same country met in the final of Europe's premier club competition for the first time.

Valencia had reached the showpiece at the expense of Barcelona, including thrashing their LaLiga rivals 4-1 in the first leg of the semi-final on their way to a 5-3 aggregate triumph (the same scoreline by which they had knocked out Lazio in the previous round).

However, Vicente del Bosque's Madrid ran out comfortable winners on French soil, Fernando Morientes, Steve McManaman and Raul with the goals in a resounding 3-0 triumph.

2000 - Pistons legend Thomas rewarded 

A two-time NBA champion and 12-time All-Star, Isiah Thomas was honoured for his achievements with a place in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

The point guard was selected by the Detroit Pistons with the second pick in the 1981 draft and went on to spend his entire playing career with the franchise, who retired his No.11 jersey.

Thomas played in 979 regular season games and was the focal point of the Detroit teams that won titles in 1989 and 1990, while the Pistons also had a heated rivalry with Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in the early 1990s.

Bob McAdoo, a two-time champion himself who was a prolific scorer in a 21-year playing career, was also voted in alongside Thomas.

2004 - Hussain signs out in style

In what would prove to be his final innings, Hussain scored an unbeaten hundred to help England beat New Zealand at Lord's.

The Black Caps had left the hosts needing a tough target of 282 in the final innings of the series opener - and they had England wobbling early at 35-2 following the dismissals of Marcus Trescothick and Mark Butcher.

Debutant Andrew Strauss combined with Hussain to put on a century stand before the former was run out following a mix-up with his senior batting partner, denying the left-hander - playing on his home ground - the possibility of scoring a century in both innings, as he departed for 83.

Hussain, however, made amends for his role in Strauss' dismissal by going on to reach three figures in a seven-wicket triumph. Three days later, he announced his retirement, swiftly moving from the field of play to the commentary box to start a career in the media.

2014 - Madrid derby sees Real clinch 'La Decima'

A 10th European title finally arrived for Madrid, though not without a dramatic late intervention from Sergio Ramos. Having not won the Champions League since 2002, they appeared set to fall at the final hurdle when they trailed city rivals Atletico 1-0 going into added time in Lisbon.

Diego Godin's first-half header had the newly crowned LaLiga champions on the brink of glory, but Ramos popped up to meet a Luka Modric corner and nod in a last-gasp equaliser.

Carlo Ancelotti's side went on to dominate in extra time, goals from Gareth Bale, Marcelo and Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored from the penalty spot, sealing a 4-1 triumph.

To rub salt in the wounds for Atletico, boss Diego Simeone was sent off before the final whistle having ran onto the pitch to confront Raphael Varane following an incident in the aftermath to Ronaldo's goal.

Carlo Ancelotti says coaching Zinedine Zidane at Juventus changed his ideas on how to play football.

Ancelotti was in charge of the Bianconeri from 1999 to 2001 but was unable to deliver silverware beyond the Intertoto Cup despite boasting a talented squad that included Zidane, Alessandro Del Piero, Edgar Davids and Filippo Inzaghi.

However, his time with the 1998 Ballon d'Or winner helped to shape his coaching style for the remainder of a hugely successful career.

"Zidane is the first player who gave me the possibility to change the system and play in a different way," Ancelotti, now Everton boss, told Sky Sports.

"So, when I had Zidane, in the first year at Juventus, I played with a system of 3-4-1-2, having Del Piero and Inzaghi up front and Zidane a little bit behind. The second year, I played with a back four but keeping two strikers in front and one number 10, like Zidane.

"Zidane changed my idea about football. I was so focused before Juventus on 4-4-2 and after with Zidane, I changed, I wanted to put him in the best position for him, to let him be more comfortable on the pitch.

"The experience at Juventus was good in my opinion because I understood really well how the club has to work for the manager, so the club gave to me a lot of support in this. It doesn't matter if they fired me at the end of the second year, until the last day in Juventus, I understood how the club has to work for the manager, to support them, to help them in front of the players, to give the manager the power that he needs to manage the players."

Zidane went on to become Ancelotti's assistant at Real Madrid, where they ended Los Blancos' 12-year wait to be crowned champions of Europe by defeating Atletico Madrid after extra time in the 2014 Champions League final.

Ancelotti's time in Turin helped to him deliver success at the Santiago Bernabeu and learn how best to utilise the abilities of Cristiano Ronaldo and now club captain Sergio Ramos.

"The team had some problems in the past years when I arrived there," he said. "The fact that they were not able to win the Champions League for 12 years was like an obsession for them because Real Madrid was used to winning a lot of Champions Leagues.

"You don't have to build a team around Cristiano Ronaldo and as I said with Zidane, you have to put them in the more comfortable way on the pitch. I don't think you have to build strict tactics with this player defensively because there are players who are more involved in the attacking phase and there are players who have to be involved more in the defensive phase.

"Of course, they have to work together because the team is the most important part of the game, but strikers like Ronaldo who are able to score every single game, you don't have to give too much information defensively.

"It is the easiest way to be a manager, to manage a fantastic player because they are professional, they are serious, they have personality, they are motivated, so it is the easiest way.

"Sergio Ramos also has a fantastic quality. I think his best quality he has is not tactically, it's not technically, it's character and the personality that he has and the ability he has to motivate the people around him, like his team-mates. Ramos during that period was important for this, he was always at the top when the game was important and in the key moment of the games."

Zinedine Zidane is determined to finish the season with silverware after Real Madrid returned to group training this week.

The Madrid head coach has led sessions at Valdebebas this week, with players able to resume group workouts in small numbers.

It is hoped the 2019-20 LaLiga season, which was suspended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, will be able to get back underway in June.

Madrid went into the enforced break two points behind leaders Barcelona, but Zidane is focused on making a fight of the title race if the campaign is able to resume.

"This week has been very good because we can work more in small groups. We can do more tactically, physically and technically," he told Real Madrid TV.

"The team looks better this week and next week will be much better.

"We have to think positively because we are lucky to be back at work, to be here on the pitch and it looks good to me. The players are thinking that now they have to make the most of it, to enjoy it.

"We have 11 matches left and we are going to prepare ourselves to finish the season well, strongly.

"In the end, the important thing is to give everything to win something. We are here, this is the DNA of the club, trying to win things.

"I'm happy to be working with my players again. It's the most important thing after 60 days. We are all happy to be back at Valdebebas. We've planned a way of working with the fitness coaches and the players are also happy to be able to train, to be together and enjoy doing what they like to do, which is play football."

Alvaro Odriozola revealed Zinedine Zidane wanted him to stay at Real Madrid instead of joining Bayern Munich on loan.

The Spain international, 24, left Madrid for Bayern on loan in January after making just five appearances for the LaLiga giants in the first half of the season.

Odriozola said Madrid head coach Zidane did not want him to join the Bundesliga side, where he has played just twice since arriving.

"I have contact with players and club employees and even with the doctors. Zidane is focused," the right-back told El Chiringuito de Jugones on Wednesday.

"When it came to talk about the departure I had several conversation with him and he showed me his support in private when Bayern were interested. Zidane did not want me to leave Madrid.

"It is appreciated that a figure like his thought more about me than himself. He is a great coach and a great person."

Odriozola joined Madrid from Real Sociedad for a reported €30million in July 2018.

A four-time Spain international, he is eager to succeed at Madrid, saying: "I dreamed of being a footballer.

"I have played for Real, I belong to Madrid and I am on loan at Bayern. Among my dreams is to succeed in Madrid. I really like to dream.

"I have fulfilled almost all my dreams and among those I have left is to succeed in Madrid."

Manchester United continue to be linked with a number of players, even during the football shutdown due to coronavirus.

Borussia Dortmund's Jadon Sancho, Tottenham star Harry Kane and Aston Villa midfielder Jack Grealish.

Atletico Madrid sensation Joao Felix is the latest name on the list.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED EYE JOAO FELIX

Manchester United are interested in signing Atletico Madrid star Joao Felix, according to Le10 Sport.

Joao Felix swapped Benfica for Atletico in a big-money deal at the start of the 2019-20 season, having been linked to United.

United reportedly remain interested in Joao Felix and want the 20-year-old Portuguese attacker to follow in the footsteps of Red Devils great Cristiano Ronaldo at Old Trafford.

 

ROUND-UP

- Could Zinedine Zidane be set for a return to Juventus? Le10 Sport claims the Serie A giants want the Real Madrid head coach to replace Juve boss Maurizio Sarri for the 2020-21 season. Zidane spent five years as a player in Turin, where the Frenchman won two Serie A trophies among other titles before moving to Madrid in 2001.

Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain, Madrid and Juve are monitoring Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, says Corriere dello Sport. Donnarumma is out of contract in 2021 and the Italy international goalkeeper is no closer to signing a new deal.

- Calciomercato reports Inter are working on extending Marcelo Brozovic's contract amid interest from Premier League leaders and Champions League holders Liverpool.

- United midfielder Paul Pogba remains Juve's number one target but the Bianconeri are ready to make a move for Lazio star Sergej Milinkovic-Savic if a deal does not materialise, says Calciomercato.

Arsenal, Milan and Leicester City are chasing Celtic defender Kristoffer Ajer, claims journalist Nicolo Schira.

- According to journalist Alfredo Pedulla, Sarri wants to reunite with Chelsea star Jorginho at Juve. Sarri and Jorginho both joined Chelsea from Napoli in 2018-19. Now the Juve boss is interested in signing the midfielder again.

Samuel Umtiti does not want to leave Barcelona, SPORT reports. The French defender has previously been linked to United and Arsenal.

David Alaba is not a top target for Madrid but the LaLiga giants continue to monitor the Bayern Munich full-back, says Marca.

Could Zinedine Zidane still cut it on the pitch? A fellow Frenchman would certainly love to find out.

Wolfsburg captain Josuha Guilavogui was star-struck when he encountered the Real Madrid boss before a Champions League game four years ago.

And he would jump at the chance to be able to combine with World Cup winner Zidane in Wolfsburg's midfield, irrespective of the fact France's former captain turns 48 in June.

"We have a great team," said Guilavogui. "But if I had the chance to play with Zinedine Zidane, I would sign him immediately. Even if he's almost 50."

Zidane retired from playing after the 2006 World Cup, his dramatic last act being the headbutt into the chest of Italy's Marco Materazzi that saw him sent off in the final.

Like Zidane, Guilavogui was brought up on the French south coast.

Now 29, Guilavogui's respect for Zidane has only grown over the years, so when he encountered his compatriot before Wolfsburg's clash with Madrid in 2016 he was understandably blown away.

"I went up to him like a child," Guilavogui said in an Instagram Live event, according to Kicker.

"What he did for France is insane. He is the best player we have ever had and he is always a nice person too. When you think of him, you think of class."

Former Tottenham striker Mido believes Zinedine Zidane has added nothing to Real Madrid in his second stint in charge.

Zidane returned to the helm of the LaLiga giants in March last year, having won three Champions League titles with Madrid during his first spell.

Mido, who played for Spurs, Ajax and Egypt during his career, criticised Zidane over his second stint, saying it was a mistake for the Frenchman to return.

"I really like Real Madrid. They are my favourite team in the league," he told AS.

"From my point of view, Zidane didn't add anything to Madrid [on his return]. As there is a saying that says, 'Do not marry the same woman twice'."

Having won the Supercopa de Espana this season, Madrid sat second to Barcelona in LaLiga and were in the Champions League last 16 when the campaign was stopped due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Mido said the health of people was far more important than football, with uncertainty over when, and if, seasons will resume.

"Soccer is something secondary during the current situation, which of course will affect all the teams in the world," he said.

"But people's lives are more important than soccer."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.