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REAL MADRID

Real Madrid: Zaniolo on Zidane's radar for summer move

Zaniolo, a la izquierda, interesa mucho al Madrid para la próxima temporada.

PEDRO NUNES

REUTERS

Real Madrid have been keeping tabs on the Italian striker since his turn in the Bernabéu in the Champions League last September.

Real Madrid scouts were on hand to run the rule over Roma striker Nicolò Zaniolo during the Italian side’s Champions League tie against Porto, when the 19-year-old announced himself on the grandest stage with a brace in the 2-1 win in the Stadio Olimpico in February.

Zaniolo became the youngest Italian in history to bag two goals in a Champions League game and although Roma were eventually eliminated by Porto in extra time, Real scouts were on hand not only to have a look at Éder Miliato, who joined the Bernabéu outfit for 50 million euros on Thursday, but also to take notes on Zaniolo, who has been the subject of interest from the LaLiga club since the 3-0 defeat Roma suffered in September in Madrid.

Zaniolo fits the bill laid out by the club’s technical staff: tall, young, with plenty of potential and an eye for goal. During the game in the Bernabéu, Eusebio Di Francesco started the young striker, who ran more than any of his teammates in the first half and gave a good account of himself. Two weeks later, he was called up for Italy by Roberto Mancini.

Monchi blocked January approach for Zaniolo

But it was against Porto that his full potential was displayed, his brace against the Portuguese giants coming in six second half minutes. He has also worked his way into Roma’s first team in Serie A this season, making 18 appearances and scoring three times.

Zaniolo was transferred to Roma last summer as part of the deal that took Radja Nainggolan to Inter Milan. The young striker was acquired on the advice of Monchi, who has since left Roma, and speculation was rife during the winter market that Real Madrid had made advances towards Zaniolo that were rebuffed by Roma. Now it appears that with the Bernabéu board in the market for a young striker during the summer, another offer may be forthcoming for one of the breakout stars in Serie A this season.