Real Madrid: Zidane's pre-Sevilla press conference

Real Madrid: Zidane's pre-Sevilla press conference

Zidane press conference: as it happened

Hasta luego!

As ever, it was a press conference in which Zinedine Zidane answered every last question with the utmost care and a zealous dedication to keeping his cards as close to his chest as is physically possible.

We'll be bringing you news of Real Madrid's squad to face Sevilla as soon as it comes out - presumably later today - and you can join us tomorrow for live-text coverage of the LaLiga clash, from about an hour before its 16:00 CET kick-off.

Thanks for reading!

Here are a couple more questions which my inability to listen while I type caused me to miss:

Zidane seen as a lucky coach:

"If you're asking me that, it's because you believe I am a lucky coach. I accept that, because I have been very lucky in life in general. I can only be thankful for that and keep on working hard. If you think that's all I have, that's no problem."

Varane's 300th game for Real Madrid:

"It was always clear the potential that he had, but not everyone plays 300 games. Hopefully he can play 300 more games. Well, perhaps we'll start with 100."

And that concludes Zidane's press conference!

One question which I failed to bring you earlier:

Potential player departures, particularly Brahim Díaz and Mariano Díaz: "I'm not going to tell you the conversations I have with my players. They know where they stand and where we stand."

Thibaut Courtois's good form:

"I think he's always shown that he's a top goalkeeper. After difficult moments, which can happen to anyone in their career, he's shown an ability to keep on going and, with hard work, he has come out of his little dip."

Winning the Super Cup:

"It's an important trophy and it wasn't easy but we managed to win, and it'll stand us in good stead for the rest of the season."

Real Madrid's interest in Reinier and general eagerness to snap up young Brazilian talent:

"The club always look for talent, the DNA of this club is to try to have the best players, and that won't change. But for me tomorrow's game is the most important thing."

Pérez's description of Zidane as a "blessing":

"I always say the same about the president: I'll always be grateful to him for bringing me to this club, I've been associated with the club for 18 years and it's something really big for me."

Opinion on Setién appointment at Barcelona:

"It's not for me to say my opinion. I expect a competitive Barcelona team under him. They'll do their job and we'll do ours. I expect them to be as they always are, competitive."

Bernabéu reception for Lopetegui:

"I hope he gets a good reception. Lopetegui is a Real Madrid man - after all, he played for the club, too. Real Madrid men are always well received here."

Sergio Ramos' efforts to return to firness:

"You'll see tomorrow whether or not he's back fit. Sergio is an example for other players to follow, he's our leader. He always wants to be out there."

Do you understand why Valverde was sacked by Barcelona?

"I'm not going to get into whether or not I understand it. I'm sorry for him.
He's a coach who has shown how good he is, and I have a lot of respect for him. As coaches at clubs like Real Madrid and Barcelona, we know where we're at and that isn't going to change. If I lose a couple of games I'll get criticised, as I did a month a half ago. You can only try to give 100%. I'm sorry for Valverde."

Gulf between performances of Zidane's Madrid and Lopetegui's Madrid:

"It's not something I'm going to try to explain to you. He's a phenomenal coach and I don't want to talk about his time at Madrid. It ended the way it did. What I can tell you about him is he's a top coach and he's showing that."

Guard of honour from Sevilla:

"Everyone has their own traditions and if they give us a guard of honour we'll happily accept it. But they're only going to be thinking about the game of football they're going to play to get the three points. We have to do the same: what interests us is what happens during the game, not before it."

Will injury victims - Ramos, Benzema - return against Sevilla?

"I'm not going to tell you what my plans are. You'll see which players are available. We're going to play against one of the best teams in our league and we have to be ready to put in a great performance."

Talk of Iker Casillas running for Spanish FA presidency:

"I'm not going to get into these things. I always wish Iker the very best, though."

Changing focus from Super Cup to LaLiga:

"It's not about changing our focus, it's about keeping going day in, day out and as always we want to keep on showing what we've been showing out on the pitch. That won't change."

ZZ time

Zidane arrives in the press room at Real Madrid's Valdebebas training ground - let's see what Los Blancos' boss has to say...

Real Madrid vs Sevilla: stat attack

The last time Real Madrid lost to Sevilla at the Bernabéu? December 2008, when goals by Adriano, Christian Romaric, Frédéric Kanouté and Renato handed the visitors a 4-3 victory. Since then, Madrid have put together a run of 12 straight home wins over the Andalusians in all competitions.

Zidane

By the way, Real Madrid may soon find themselves playing more European matches than ever before, if a proposal to make the Champions League season four games longer goes through. You'll find the full report on that here.

Benzema

Benzema and Ramos back in group training

Karim Benzema and Sergio Ramos have both trained with the Real Madrid group this morning as they return from hamstring and ankle injuries, respectively, and we can expect Zidane to give us an update not only on their progress, but also that of Eden Hazard, who this week stepped up his recovery from the fractured ankle that has kept him out of action since November.

Sevilla sign En-Nesyri

Incidentally, Lopetegui and Sevilla have been busy in the transfer market in the last 24 hours, snapping up Leganés striker Youssef En-Nesyri for a fee of around 20 million euros. The Moroccan international could make his debut at the Bernabéu on Saturday.

LaLiga table

Lopetegui thriving at Sevilla

However, Lopetegui has got himself very much back on track since at Sevilla. Since being appointed by the LaLiga club in the summer, the 53-year-old has steered the Andalusians to fourth place in LaLiga at the halfway stage of the season, within just five points of Barcelona and Real Madrid.

Lopetegui

Lopetegui back at Bernabéu after unsuccessful Real reign

Appointed in summer 2018 - amid an almighty hoohaa that led the then-Spain coach to be summarily sacked by RFEF president Luis Rubiales on the eve of the World Cup - Lopetegui lasted just four months in the Real Madrid hotseat, before being given the boot after a 5-1 Clásico mauling by arch rivals Barcelona.

Sevilla to pay tribute to Super Cup win

Fresh from winning the Spanish Super Cup in Saudi Arabia last weekend, Real Madrid are to be given a guard of honour by Sevilla this Saturday, as former Bernabéu head coach Julen Lopetegui returns to the stadium for the first time since his ill-fated spell as Los Blancos' boss.

Setién Barcelona

New man in charge at Barcelona

Barça's clash with Granada this weekend will see Quique Setién take charge of his first game since being named Camp Nou head coach in place of the sacked Ernesto Valvede... and one imagines that Zidane will be asked for his two cents' worth on that appointment.

Real Madrid

Real chance to go top of LaLiga

Madrid go into week 20 of the LaLiga season level on 40 points with leaders Barcelona, but with the Blaugrana not in action until Sunday night, Zidane's men have the chance to kick off the second half of the league campaign by moving provisionally top of the table.

Afternoon!

We're expecting to hear from Zinedine Zidane at about 13:00 CET, so in around half an hour's time, as Real Madrid prepare to take on Sevilla in LaLiga on Saturday.

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