Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane has confirmed that Alvaro Morata, Pepe and James Rodriguez will stay with the Spanish giants.
The Frenchman said he is hopeful that Los Blancos will kick off their 2017 La Liga campaign with a victory against Sevilla in Wednesday’s Copa del Rey round-of-16 tie.
Cristiano Ronaldo was omitted from the selection that’ll feature against Sevilla, who are third in the La Liga table with 33 points, one less from Barcelona.
Madrid celebrated the New Year with a Club World Cup victory, but are currently battling rumors of multiple transfers which have made James Rodriguez a hot topic.
During a pregame news briefing on Tuesday, Zizou discussed the future of his players – Pepe, Alvaro Morata and James Rodriguez – who reports say are on their way out of Bernabeu.
A Chinese Super League club, Hebei China Fortune, has reportedly offered a huge sum of money for Pepe whose contract with Madrid expires next summer. The 33-year-old is likely to leave Los Blancos, but Zidane thinks otherwise.
“Pepe is our player, he is important for us,” the 44-year-old coach told a group of journalists.
“He has been here many years, has made history with this club and I hope he stays. I am not interested in speculation, just in what he can do for us from now until the end.”
A Tuesday report from Corrieredellosport, an Italian news outlet, claims that Madrid’s substitute striker Alvaro Morata is also in the last chance bus with James, and may be leaving in the coming transfer window due to irregular first team action.
The tabloid said Morata, who spent two years with Juventus (2014-2016), may be heading back to the Serie A giants.
“I do not believe this information is correct,” Zidane said.
“[Morata] looks happy to me to be here. He is at home here. He is working well, very focused on the project here, and nothing else. You could ask him.”
Meanwhile, a report from Marca quotes James’ father as saying that his son will surely remain at Real Madrid no matter how bleak his future looks.
The 25-year-old made comments in Japan which sparked speculations that he will be leaving Bernabeu this January, but his father dispersed the rumors a day before Zidane also clarified that James is going nowhere.
“He has a commitment to Real Madrid and he has a contract,” Wilson Rodriguez told reporters after taking part in a football competition ‘Dia del Futbol Santandereano’ alongside Radamel Falcao’s father.
“He is going to remain there.
“He’ll win back his place at Real Madrid because he is humble and because he deserves it.”
“[Talking about his closeness to James] Our relationship has always been good, but people like to talk and to say things that aren’t true.
“We shared these holidays together and played football almost every day.
“He was happy and then he left to get back to work with Real Madrid.”