You don’t mess with Zinedine Zidane, as anyone who watched the 2006 World Cup final knows. For all his elegance as a footballer and a man, the French legend has quite the temper. So in one way, Florentino Perez has got off rather lightly.
Almost a week after Zizou’s shock resignation as Real Madrid manager, it has belatedly emerged that club president Perez did, indeed, mess with Zidane – the crazy fool.
He didn’t insult any members of his family; he just insulted his summer transfer strategy. And rather than retaliating by headbutting the 71-year-old to the ground, Zidane merely responded by saying goodbye forever.
The Sun claims the two men had a furious row the night before Zidane quit the Bernabeu after securing back-to-back-to-back Champions League titles.
Zidane said he wanted to sign Manchester United’s David de Gea and Chelsea’s Eden Hazard; Perez told the coach to keep current goalkeeper Keylor Navas and forget about Hazard, at which point the Frenchman allegedly barked, “I am done. You take care of the team.” Then he left.
And Perez was left sitting alone in his swivelly chair stroking a white cat, to whom he looked down and remarked, “Well that escalated quickly eh, Franco?” Mane ‘agrees terms with Real Madrid’
It’s not just Hazard and De Gea that Zidane reportedly wanted to sign this summer. France Football says Liverpool forward Sadio Mane had “agreed a deal to join Real Madrid” and was all set to head to the Spanish capital before Zidane’s departure.
That transfer could “still be revived”, suggests the Mail, although there is still the small matter of Real “finalising a fee” with the Reds, who are unlikely to be keen on the idea.
It’s all good news for Chelsea fans, whose hopes of keeping Hazard at Stamford Bridge have been “boosted” by Zidane’s decision to step down, says the Standard. The Blues will now wait until after the World Cup to offer the Belgian a salary increase “from £200,000 to £300,000”, which will be nice for him.
FOOTBALL: La Liga: Real Madrid president Perez ‘shocked’ as Zidane resigns
Real Madrid president Florentino Perez admits he is shocked to discover the news that Zinedine Zidane will step down as Real Madrid head coach.
Chelsea are also said to be “closing in” on the appointment of Laurent Blanc as their new manager after holding “further talks” with the Frenchman over the past two days, says the Express. They are also believed to be chatting to Luis Enrique and Fulham’s Slavisa Jokanovic though.
Meanwhile, the Mail says Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino was attracted to the possibility of replacing Zidane – and was “to all intents and purposes offered the job” – but rejected it because he “didn’t want to be seen as a mercenary”. Plus, he knows the position will probably come up again in a year or two.
Elsewhere, Leicester will ask for Manchester City’s 21-year-old winger Patrick Roberts in part-exchange for Riyad Mahrez, who is set to move to the Etihad in a £60m deal (Telegraph), West Ham have had a £33m bid rejected for Lazio’s Brazilian winger Felipe Anderson (Express) and Southampton want to pay the £12m release clause to sign Stoke City’s Xherdan Shaqiri (Mirror). It’s been terribly difficult for the Swiss winger not having Mark Hughes in his life these past few months.