Zinedine Zidane: Real Madrid boss tests positive for coronavirus

Real Madrid are second in the La Liga standings after winning 11 out of 18 games so far; they are seven points behind leaders Atletico Madrid; Zinedine Zidane's side were knocked out of the Copa del Rey by third division side Alcoyano on Wednesday night

27 October 2020, North Rhine-Westphalia, M'nchengladbach: Football: Champions League, Group stage, Group B, 2nd matchday, Borussia M'nchengladbach - Real Madrid at the stadium in Borussia-Park. Coach Zinedine Zidane (l) of Madrid is standing on the edge of the field. Photo by: Marius Becker/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images
Image: Zinedine Zidane will miss Real Madrid's match against Alaves on Saturday

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane has tested positive for the coronavirus, the La Liga club said in a statement on Friday.

The French coach was isolating earlier this month after a close contact tested positive for Covid-19 and did not attend a training session as a result.

Zidane, who is under pressure following Real's shock cup defeat to third division side Alcoyano earlier this week, will not be available for their La Liga match away at Alaves on Saturday with his assistant David Bettoni set to take charge.

Real are second in the league standings, seven points behind city rivals Atletico Madrid, who have a game in hand.

Real Madrid forward Eden Hazard, midfielder Casemiro and defender Eder Militao also tested positive earlier this season.

Martin Odegaard 1:21
Spanish football journalist Alvaro Montero believes Martin Odegaard will be a good replacement for Mesut Ozil

Arsenal in advanced talks to loan Odegaard

Arsenal are in advanced negotiations to sign Real Madrid midfielder Martin Odegaard on loan.

Odegaard made it clear he wanted to leave this month in order to play regular first-team football, having played just nine times in all competitions for Real Madrid this season.

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Real Madrid held productive talks with the Norway international in the last 24 hours, while negotiations with Arsenal are progressing well, although an agreement is yet to be reached.

Real Sociedad were keen on re-signing Odegaard after his season-long loan stint last year, but it is thought Real Madrid's preference is to send the 22-year-old to a club outside La Liga.

Odegaard registered seven goals and nine assists across 36 appearances on loan at the La Liga side last season, leading Real Madrid to cut short his two-year loan and make him part of their first-team squad.

A number of Premier League clubs were also interested in Odegaard, including Leicester, although the Foxes opted not to pursue the Norwegian international after preliminary discussions.

Emile Smith Rowe produced an outstanding display as Arsenal won convincingly 0:51
Arsenal may hinder the progress of Emile Smith Rowe if they sign Martin Odegaard, according to Jermaine Beckford

What would one-time wonderkid Odegaard bring to the Premier League?

Sky Sports' Peter Smith:

What would Odegaard bring to the Premier League? Well, hype, hope, and a lot of media attention for starters.

The attention of the footballing world was centred on him in 2015 when, a month after his 16th birthday, Real Madrid won the race for his signature - and the interest in the now 22-year-old will ignite again if he comes to these shores.

Real Madrid's Martin Odegaard during the Spanish La Liga soccer match between Betis and Real Madrid at the at the Benito Villamarin stadium in Seville, Spain, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020. (AP Photo/Angel Fernandez)
Image: Arsenal want to bring Martin Odegaard to north London

Already a Norway international when he joined Real, Odegaard - who had drawn excitable comparisons with Lionel Messi - immediately began training with the first team and became the club's youngest-ever player in the final game of that season.

Back then, the anticipation of what Odegaard would become at the Bernabeu knew no bounds - but his progress, perhaps disappointingly for some, has been quieter since, as the gradual progression of a midfield technician has taken shape.

Patience is paying off now, though. After an underwhelming 18-month loan spell at Heerenveen, Odegaard had a standout season at Vitesse in 2018/19, creating more chances than any other player in the Netherlands' top flight, and finishing third in the assists charts to Dusan Tadic and Hakim Ziyech.

Mikel Arteta 1:05
Mikel Arteta said Arsenal are 'looking at options' in the January transfer window but refused to confirm their interest in Martin Odegaard

He backed it up with an impressive season at Real Sociedad last year, when he hit double figures for goal contributions, and was recalled to Real Madrid as a result.

While a way into Zinedine Zidane's line-up has ultimately been hard to find, Premier League clubs are now pursuing a classy creator, a pass master, and an attacking midfielder with a fine touch and bright awareness of the game.

Odegaard - if he does come to England - will bring excitement on the pitch as well as off it.

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