Zinedine Zidane's Real Madrid Return 'Can Only Be Positive,' Says Dani Ceballos

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistMarch 21, 2019

VALLADOLID, SPAIN - MARCH 10: Dani Ceballos of Real Madrid looks on during the La Liga match between Real Valladolid CF and Real Madrid CF at Jose Zorrilla on March 10, 2019 in Valladolid, Spain. (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Dani Ceballos has said Zinedine Zidane's return as Real Madrid manager "can only be positive" for the club, with the midfielder adding fans are yet to see his best for Los Blancos. 

Zidane replaced Santiago Solari earlier in March, and Ceballos said on Cadena SER programme El Larguero (h/t Marca) that he had received positive feedback from the Frenchman:

"The return of Zidane can only be positive news following our poor season up to now. He has always been very clear with me regarding my role in the team, and we all know the importance of him to our team.

"He spoke to me recently and told me that he'd been following my matches and that he wanted me to keep playing to the same level. He told me that I'd be given the same opportunities as my team-mates and that put me at ease.

"I don't think you have seen the best Ceballos at Real Madrid just yet.

"My dream is to be a success here and that is something that nobody can take away from me."

Ceballos moved to the Santiago Bernabeu from Real Betis in the summer of 2017 and had a promising first campaign in Madrid, earning nine starts in all competitions. He's made 17 starts this season and was somewhat more favoured under Solari than he was his predecessor, Julen Lopetegui.

Los Blancos will have one eye on the ageing star midfielder Luka Modric, 33, and La Liga writer Simon Harrison predicted a summer departure could lie in wait:

Simon Harrison @simonhfootball

@elfetofefo Would imagine Bale and Ceballos will go, yeah. Marcos Llorente loves the club, which might make it a little tougher, but he needs a move so badly.

However, Sergio Santos Chozas of AS wrote that Real were prepared to put their faith in Ceballos as Modric's successor. The playmaker's remarks conflict with a recent report by ASCarlos Forjanes, who wrote Ceballos was one of nine Real players who have until the end of the season to prove to Zidane that they belong.

Despite not being involved much during Zidane's last season at Real, Ceballos appeared confident his chances will improve during his second spell at the helm. 

The Betis product was a much more prominent member in Seville, even from a young age, and he made 104 appearances in his last three seasons with Los Verdiblancos.

Sportswriter Muhammad Butt highlighted Ceballos as the pick of the bunch among Real's more expendable players:

Muhammad Butt @muhammadbutt

@HushKerai @gregianjohnson I reckon he may actually play now. Modric will surely depart and he’s basically Modric 2.0 - but if he does go up for sale he’s the best player to buy for sure.

The midfielder came on in the second half of their recent 2-0 win over Celta Vigo as Zidane made his second debut in the Bernabeu dugout, the first indication he'll get his chances under the new regime.

Zidane became the first manager to win three consecutive UEFA Champions League titles during his first stint at Real chief and has large expectations this time around.