Zidane not interested in Neymar speculation

Talk of the Barcelona star making the controversial move to the capital club is having no impact on the Madrid coach or the dressing room, the Frenchman says

Zinedine Zidane insists he is not concerned with speculation linking Neymar with a move to Real Madrid and is adamant the rumours do not impact the dressing room.

Reports in Spain have indicated Madrid see Neymar as a replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo, who has been repeatedly linked with a transfer away from the Santiago Bernabeu – with Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain mooted as potential destinations.

Madrid are reported to have met with Neymar before the Ballon d'Or ceremony this month, but the rumours have been firmly rejected by Barca vice-president Jordi Mestre.

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Meanwhile, the player himself berated the journalist who reported that he had been in the capital to talk with the club.

Zidane has shown no interest in such rumours, though, insisting he and the team are focused on Sunday's game against Espanyol.

"I have a squad of 26 players and I'm happy to have them," the Frenchman told reporters. "I'm only focused on those things and the game.

"I don't get mixed up in what is said outside. The rumours don't bother the dressing room, it's normal that the media talk about this, it's always going to happen, just as with the subject of Cristiano, on whether or not he is leaving.

"What we have to do is concentrate on our work."

Gareth Bale, who has not featured since January 17 because of a calf problem, remains on track to return against Granada next weekend.

"Gareth is physically okay, has hasn't suffered from his injuries and the idea is that he'll be with the group next week," Zidane said.

By his own extremely high standards, Ronaldo's return of two goals in his last four games represents a disappointing one.

On Ronaldo's form, Zidane said: "Cristiano has not lost any of his ability as a goalscorer. He needed to work like everyone else. I am not worried about him."