Zinedine Zidane Talks Up Real Madrid Interest in Paul Pogba, Kylian Mbappe

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistMarch 30, 2019

MADRID, SPAIN - MARCH 16: Zinedine Zidane, Manager of Real Madrid looks on during the La Liga match between Real Madrid CF and RC Celta de Vigo at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on March 16, 2019 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane has commented on his team's reported interest in Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba and Paris Saint-Germain striker Kylian Mbappe.

After a challenging campaign for Los Blancos, Zidane returned to the club for a second spell as manager in early March, and he is expected to be backed with significant funds in the summer to help rebuild the Madrid squad.

Pogba has been mentioned as a possible target, with Jose Felix Diaz of Marca reporting the player was keen on the move. Speaking on Saturday, Zidane made it clear how much he admires his compatriot, per Dermot Corrigan of ESPN FC:

"I like him a lot—that is nothing new. I know him personally. He is a truly different player—few players can do what he can. He is a midfielder who can defend, attack, do everything.

"But he is not my player, he is at Manchester. He has always said that, after Manchester, Madrid has always interested him. So when his experience at Manchester ends, why not come here to Madrid?"

Per BBC Sport, during the recent international break, Pogba was asked about Real Madrid and said it would be a "dream" to play for the club.

Here is Marca's front page from Saturday, on which the Manchester United man was very much the focus:

Sport Witness @Sport_Witness

Paul Pogba | Marca's big splash and all it says, and doesn't. Player said to be determined to leave Man United, and has told Raiola, who has offered him to Real Madrid in 2 phone calls. Los Blancos are still contemplating their summer. https://t.co/U47LMAXCcA #mufc #rmcf https://t.co/bd0Bdqtget

Another name said to be in the frame for Los Blancos is Mbappe, with the young forward developing a reputation as one of the best goalscorers in the world during his time at PSG. 

Zidane was asked about speculation linking the starlet with a €280 million (£241 million) move to the Santiago Bernabeu and whether any player was worth that kind of money:

"You cannot say these days what a player is worth—€100 million, €200 million, €300 million. It is up to the clubs.

"When I came here they said the price of €72 million was crazy, and in the end look what happened. We know the player that he is. He is not my player, so I will not speak out of respect for him and his club PSG, and above all respect for my own players."

Corrigan provided his assessment on what Zidane had to say in his press conference ahead of Sunday's showdown with Huesca:

Dermot Corrigan @dermotmcorrigan

Zidane kept saying couldn’t talk about other players etc - but also left very clear he’d love Pogba at Madrid and €300m for Mbappe seems quite normal.

These figures from Squawka Football sum up why the Madrid boss may not be too concerned about spending massive money on Mbappe:

Squawka Football @Squawka

Kylian Mbappé’s first-team career for club & country: • 168 games • 90 goals • 46 assists On average, directly involved in a goal once every 85 minutes. https://t.co/siQq8wDAYh

Madrid have already secured the signing of defender Eder Militao for next season, and there is an excitement as to what business the club will do in a critical summer.

For Zidane—who won three UEFA Champions League titles in a row during his first spell as Madrid boss—to have been tempted back, you sense big promises were made to him in regard to incoming players. Still, even for a club of Los Blancos' profile, getting two deals of this nature over the line will be a massive challenge.