Zinedine Zidane refused to stoke speculation over Real Madrid’s purported interest in Neymar as he prepares to reassemble his own all-star forward line.
Neymar has been touted for a return to LaLiga with Madrid despite only leaving their bitter rivals Barcelona to join Paris Saint-Germain in August for a world-record fee of €222million.
The Brazil forward has dazzled in the French capital, with 15 goals in as many Ligue 1 games, but he drew jeers from a section of the Parc des Princes crowd in midweek when he converted a penalty to conclude a four-goal haul in the 8-0 romp against Dijon, in the process denying Edinson Cavani the chance to become PSG’s all-time leading scorer.
Asked to comment on Neymar’s situation at a news conference to preview Sunday’s LaLiga match at home to Deportivo La Coruna, Zidane spoke of his admiration for the player.
“I am not talking about [incidents involving] players that are not mine that is very important,” he said.
“But about the player himself, yes of course I like everything about him. Everybody on the planet likes him. He’s a great player.”
Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale are all available to face Depor, meaning the feted ‘BBC’ forward line could play in tandem for the first time in 273 days following various fitness complaints.
“The three of them will be with us, that’s for sure, and then as usual I won’t say a thing about the line-up,” said Zidane, whose reigning champions languish fourth in the table – 19 points shy of Barca at the summit.
“It’s true, it’s very positive to be able to have such high-quality players at your disposal. It’s always good to recover players who’ve been injured.
“I’m grateful to have these three great players available.
“We know that they have a lot of attacking potential and can bring a lot to the team.”