Zidane swats away speculation surrounding James, Pepe and Morata
The Real Madrid boss has played down exit talk surrounding three of his senior stars, with the trio all expected to stay at the Bernabeu
James Rodriguez, Pepe and Alvaro Morata were the subject of much of Zinedine Zidane’s news conference, the Real Madrid coach dismissing transfer rumours surrounding the trio.
Zidane faced the media ahead of Wednesday’s Copa del Rey last-16 first-leg meeting with Sevilla as Madrid return to action in 2017, having lifted the Club World Cup in Japan last month.
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The opening of the January transfer window has led to the usual speculation surrounding some of Madrid’s stars, with James again a hot topic of conversation.
The Colombia international has found first-team opportunities hard to come by this season, fuelling rumours he could depart this month, although the player’s father, his agent and Zidane have all insisted he will stay at the Santiago Bernabeu.
“James is a Real Madrid player, an important player,” Zidane said.
“I get along with James just as well as I do with the rest of the players because they’re all important and we’re going to keep working together.
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“It’s a difficult moment when you don’t get to play in a [Club World Cup] final, it’s easy to be angry. I understand that it’s difficult, but now that’s in the past and we want to look at what’s ahead of us and be together.
“Yes we’ve talked, I told him he’s a Real Madrid player. He wants to be here, he’s in the best club in the world. I want him here, there’s nothing else to say. We’ll keep doing our work and that’s the important thing.”
Zidane also addressed rumours concerning Pepe – who has been linked with a move to the Chinese Super League – and Morata, whom it was reported was unhappy and seeking a return to Juventus.
“Pepe is our player, an important player who’s been here for 10 years and made history,” Zidane said. “When you ask me about here and there I’m not interested.
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“I’m interested in what he is going to do with us from now until the end.
“It [Morata speculation] is not close to the truth at all. Alvaro is happy here, this is his home, he’s working well. He’s 100 per cent behind this project and that’s that.
“What people say outside this club doesn’t really matter, I don’t think it’s true, but you’ll have to ask them.”