La Liga: Zinedine Zidane expresses wish to continue as Real Madrid coach, admits future depends on results
Zidane had previously stayed guarded over his desire to remain at Real Madrid but appears now to have declared his hand.
Madrid: Zinedine Zidane indicated on Friday that he wants to stay at Real Madrid next season. But Real´s coach admitted his future will depend on results, with his team sitting third in La Liga, 15 points adrift of Barcelona, and relying on the Champions League for a major trophy this term.
Zidane had previously stayed guarded over his desire to remain at the club but appears now to have declared his hand. Real travel to Las Palmas in the league on Saturday.
"Yes, I would still like to stay as coach of Real Madrid," Zidane said. "Here we depend on the results, it has not changed, it will not change, it is the requirement of this club and I accept it.
"I've been here 18 years, I know how Real Madrid functions," said Zidane, who arrived at the club in the summer of 2001. "I do what I like doing, I do it thoroughly and if the question is, do you want to continue? Then yes I will continue. I do not feel tired, not at all."
Despite winning the Champions League in each of his two seasons in charge at Real, as well as the La Liga title last year, Zidane has come under pressure in recent months.
Real's limp defence of their domestic crown, a shock exit to Leganes in the Copa del Rey, and their poor start in Europe, where they finished second in the group behind Tottenham, combined to put Zidane's position in doubt. But the mood has changed since Real beat Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League this month and victory over Juventus would only enhance Zidane's cause further.
His team play Juve on Tuesday in the first leg of the quarter-finals in Turin.
First, however, Real face a trip to Gran Canaria and Las Palmas, hoping to close the gap on second-placed Atletico Madrid to one point before Atletico play Deportivo La Coruna on Sunday.
"We hope to take second place, little by little," Zidane said. "Of course we have our minds on Tuesday but tomorrow(Saturday) we have a match and to execute on Tuesday, we have to execute well tomorrow."
Sergio Ramos has picked up a knock and Isco has a back problem, with Zidane confirming neither would travel with the squad this weekend.
Zidane insisted he has no issue with Isco, who followed his hat-trick for Spain against Argentina on Tuesday by saying he does not feel the same confidence playing for Real as for his country.
"He said it clearly, he is happy. Maybe he does not have the best role, but he is important," Zidane said.
"The player wants to play more, like everyone, but I can only choose eleven and I have 25. Isco is a Madrid player and he is going to stay here."
Images carried in various media showed players like Sergi Roberto and the teenager Pedri leaving Messi's house. In a video chants of 'champions, champions' could be heard.
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It might not be a winner-takes-all clash like in 2014, victory could give either Atletico Madrid or Barcelona the momentum needed to go on and claim the title.
Messi scored a double to take his LaLiga tally to 28 goals for the season, seven ahead of Karim Benzema and even more remarkable given his relatively slow start.