Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane has confirmed Cristiano Ronaldo will stay at Real Madrid, despite rumours linking the prolific forward with an exit earlier this summer.
In a wide-ranging interview with ESPN FC (h/t ESPN.co.uk), Zidane was asked about Ronaldo’s future, but the Frenchman said the free-scoring talisman won’t move on.
Zidane’s words are a boost for the UEFA Champions League winners after Ronaldo was linked with a move last month. A report from Kaveh Solhekol of Sky Sports News said the Portuguese powerhouse was keen on returning to former club Manchester United.
Rumours of Ronaldo moving on from the Santiago Bernabeu were originally sparked by reports the forward was upset after being accused of tax fraud, per Dan Roan of BBC Sport.
Zidane’s stance is one more indication Ronaldo will stay at the club, where he has won the Champions League three times, La Liga twice and two Copa del Rey trophies.
The manager’s words come after Manu Sainz of Spanish source AS (h/t MailOnline’s Robert Cottingham) reported Ronaldo had decided to stay with La Liga’s champions.
Keeping Ronaldo is naturally the key to Zidane’s hopes of maintaining Real’s run as the premier force in both Spain’s top flight and across Europe. Ronaldo’s goals are still key to Los Blancos winning the big matches.
However, Ronaldo staying doesn’t mean Zidane will give up on the idea of further bolstering his squad’s talents in the attacking areas. In fact, Spanish source Diario Gol (h/t CalcioMercato.com) says Zidane is “desperate to add” Chelsea winger Eden Hazard.
The Belgium international is the first choice for Real’s boss, ahead of AS Monaco striker Kylian Mbappe: “The portal claims that Zidane is aware he could get Hazard for less than the €100 million it’s claimed is needed to convince Monaco to part with Mbappe and wants Real president Florentino Perez to make signing him a priority.”
Hazard is also said to be open to moving to the Spanish capital, per the reports.