The Real Madrid head coach, Zinedine Zidane, spoke to the gathered media outlets during the club's pre-season tour in the United States and included his thoughts on the need for another signing and the upcoming match against Manchester United.
Real Madrid happy to be back in action
Zidane said that his squad are excited to be back and very much looking forward to their first game, hinting that there could be some rustiness in comparison to José Mourinho's side, who will be playing their fourth match in pre-season. "The players are good and happy to get things underway," he confirmed.
Zidane looking for squad improvement
As with most transfer periods, Real Madrid have been in the thick of the movement and speculation and this was not lost on their manager:
"It is true that some very good players have left and some young players have come in, but we are trying to improve the overall squad. We are pleased with those lads that have arrived recently, they are passionate to be with us and train. They know where they are but the season will tell us if we have improved the squad."
Talk of Mbappé and Morata loss
One name in particular is never far from the conversation in the past few months, Monaco's young striker, Kylian Mbappé. But when asked about the boy from Paris Zidane preferred to focus on the current players at his disposal:
"There are 28 with us at the moment, and they are what I am focused on. As always, until the 31st anything can happen. He [Mbappé] is good but I'm only thinking about tomorrow's game and preparing for the season ahead."
So, does the loss of Álvaro Morata have any bearing on what Zidane is considering in the transfer market? He was asked if without the now-Chelsea player the squad was weaker:
"Certainly it is," he replied, "We saw what he did last season. He gave a lot to the team. Right now we are missing a striker."
Cristiano Ronaldo rumours
Another piece of news that rocked the world of football a few weeks back was the story by A Bolo that Los Blancos' number seven could be on the move. Zidane was very relaxed in his answer:
“I know there has been a lot of talk about Cristiano wanting to leave,” the coach said. "When I talk to him he is calm and enjoying his holiday. He'll arrive on the 5th [August].
"I look like everyone else but what matters to me is what he wants to do with Madrid and I believe he is going to stay.
In terms of when the talisman is likely to pull on his Real Madrid shirt again, with some important games not to far away, Zidane wasn't so sure:
"I don't know," he responded, "the important thing is that he is on a well-deserved break."
Gareth Bale looking at a positive season
Zidane was delighted that Welshman Gareth Bale was, at last getting a proper pre-season preparation under his belt:
"It's the first time he's had a preseason [at Madrid], he is physically well and appears very happy. He is preparing to have the great campaign he wants to produce.