Paris, March 13 (IANS): The reappointment of Zinedine Zidane as Real Madrid’s head coach has raised fears in France’s sporting press that the national hero could seek to sign Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) star Kylian Mbappe to play in the Spanish capital in 2019.
In an interview with a French football show on Sunday, Mbappe, 20, announced that he had no intention of leaving the Ligue 1 side and said he would be at PSG for the 2019-2020 season.
However, the return of Mbappe’s idol, Zidane, 46, to Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu stadium has left the French press tense with speculation, reports Efe news.
“Hazard and Mbappe Targeted,” was the headline French sports paper L’Equipe ran on Tuesday, in a nod to a possible deal between the French coach and the capital team’s leadership to try and bring in an infusion of youth to Madrid, with Belgium and Chelsea striker Eden Hazard, 28, and Mbappe.
L’Equipe reported that Zidane had made requests to the Spanish club’s president Florentino Perez conditional upon his returning to be the head coach. The paper also added that picking up Mbappe to play on the Iberian side could be just what Madrid needed after the departure of Portugal star, Cristiano Ronaldo, 34, to Italian giant Juventus in the summer of 2018.
Meanwhile, Le Parisien bemoaned “The return of Zidane is anything but good news for PSG.”
The French daily also said a Zidane-led Madrid could be vying to gobble up PSG forward Neymar Jr., 27, instead of Mbappe, underscoring that getting the Brazilian star playing at Madrid has been “an old dream of Perez.”
Zidane, who quit the capital club last summer after winning three consecutive Champions League titles with the Spanish powerhouse, replaced Santiago Solari on Monday after Madrid crashed and burned in three anticipated competitions — all at the capital side’s home pitch Santiago Bernabeu and two of which were against the capital club’s nemesis Barcelona — in just one week.
On Monday, a club statement confirmed Solari’s sacking and said, “The board of directors … agreed on the appointment of Zinedine Zidane as head coach of Real Madrid with immediate effect for the remainder of the season and the next three campaigns, until June 30, 2022.”
The Frenchman seemed to be the safest bet among the other candidates — which reportedly also included another former Madrid coach, the troubled Portuguese skipper Jose Mourinho — local media had linked with getting the team back on track.