Zinedine Zidane Talks Gareth Bale, Neymar and Paul Pogba Real Madrid Rumours

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistAugust 16, 2019

Real Madrid's French coach Zinedine Zidane leaves after holding a press conference at Real Madrid's sports city in Madrid on August 16, 2019. (Photo by JAVIER SORIANO / AFP)        (Photo credit should read JAVIER SORIANO/AFP/Getty Images)

Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane fielded questions about Gareth Bale's future on Friday, as well as the club's reported interest in Neymar and Paul Pogba.

Los Blancos will get their 2019-20 campaign under way on the road against Celta Vigo on Saturday, with a new-look side set to take to the field following a busy summer of transfer activity.

In terms of outgoings, Zidane was quizzed about Bale and admitted he thought the Welshman was set for a summer exit. However, it appears he is set to stay at the club, per Dermot Corrigan of ESPN FC:

Dermot Corrigan @dermotmcorrigan

Zidane on Bale “It seemed that he was going to leave, and he is here with us now. Things can change, and now I will count on him, like the others. He has a contract, is an important player, and I hope that all the players want to make things difficult for me to pick the team.”

Speculation continues to persist over interest in Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar and Manchester United midfielder Pogba too.

The Madrid boss didn't want to comment on the rumours about either player:

Dermot Corrigan @dermotmcorrigan

Zidane: “Neymar is not a Real Madrid player. The important thing is the players who are here.”

Dermot Corrigan @dermotmcorrigan

Zidane on Pogba: “Paul is a Manchester player and we must respect that. We are here thinking of tomorrow’s game.”

Dermot Corrigan @dermotmcorrigan

Zidane asked if he wants more players, for example Pogba “I am happy with my players, thinking just of tomorrow’s game. The players the same. We are ready to play a good game, we want to compete. I have the best players here, no doubt, I always say that.”

Bale will be a Madrid player at the start of the new campaign despite incessant links with a move away.

The Welshman appeared poised to join Chinese club Jiangsu Suning, although the deal fell through at the last minute.

With the player seemingly out of favour at Madrid under Zidane, broadcaster and writer Scott Johnson commented on the 30-year-old's situation: 

Scott Johnson @roathboy

‘Wales forward Gareth Bale, 30, is prepared to bide his time on the sidelines at Real Madrid until the Chinese Super League window re-opens in November or manager Zinedine Zidane is sacked.’ What. A. Mess.

In terms of possible acquisitions, even with the arrivals of Eden Hazard, Luka Jovic, Rodrygo, Ferland Mendy and Eder Militao at Madrid this summer, there's a feeling there may yet be more business to do before the Spanish transfer window closes on September 2.

Neymar and Pogba are huge names who continue to be linked with switches to the Santiago Bernabeu.

Per Corrigan and Rodrigo Faez of ESPN FC, Los Blancos players have been talking to Neymar in a bid to convince him to make the move to the Santiago Bernabeu this summer, with former club Barcelona also said to be interested in the Brazil international.

Spanish football journalist Andy West said signing Neymar would be a big gamble for either of La Liga's biggest outfits:

Andy West @andywest01

Neymar is (obviously) a world class talent like few others. Second best in the world when he's fit and in the mood. But he's also a petulant and horribly advised manchild with fitness issues. Signing him is a massive massive gamble but with a potentially huge payoff.

It would be a shock if Los Blancos were to make a successful move for Pogba, as the deadline to sign players for Premier League clubs has passed.

It means that even if Madrid were to make a massive offer for the United star, the Red Devils would not be able to bring in a replacement until January at the earliest.

The upcoming campaign is crucial for Madrid, especially after backing Zidane with huge money in the transfer market. Los Blancos finished the previous campaign without any silverware, and they were a long way off challenging Barcelona for the title too, finishing third behind the Blaugrana and local rivals Atletico Madrid.