"'Yes, it may be [true],' said Zinedine Zidane when asked about the rumours linking Cristiano Ronaldo with a return to Real Madrid this summer; Juventus' elimination from the Champions League last week to Porto has intensified speculation around Ronaldo's future
Monday 15 March 2021 16:31, UK
Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane says the rumours linking Cristiano Ronaldo with a return to the Spanish capital might be true.
Ronaldo left Real in 2018 for Juventus in a £105m deal, after winning an unprecedented three Champions League titles in a row under Zidane, who also exited the club that summer only to return nine months later.
Juventus were desperate to bring Ronaldo to Turin to replicate that success in Europe, however, the Italian champions have failed to progress beyond the quarter-final stage since the five-time Ballon d'Or winner arrived.
After last week's elimination from the Champions League by underdogs Porto, talk has grown that the move away from Madrid was a mistake and that Ronaldo is destined to return to the club this summer.
"Yes, it may be [true]," Zidane told Sky in Italy, when asked about the rumours linking Ronaldo with a return to Real.
"We know Cristiano, we know the person he is and everything he has done here.
"But now he's a Juventus player and we must respect this.
"Now, let's see what the future will be. I was lucky enough to coach him and he is very impressive. Right now, he's helping Juventus."
Juventus' CEO Fabio Paratici has, however, dismissed speculation that the forward might leave the club, insisting that Ronaldo represents the future of the Italian club.
Zidane has said he is at a loss to explain Eden Hazard's latest injury setback.
The Belgium forward joined Real in a £130m deal in 2019 but has been blighted by injuries, making 25 La Liga appearances since signing.
After returning from a muscle problem for the final 15 minutes in Saturday's last-gasp 2-1 win over Elche, Zidane said Hazard will miss Tuesday's Champions League home last-16 second leg with Atalanta.
"He won't be fit. They're things that I can't explain. I want to be positive and hope that it's not too much of a problem," Zidane told a news conference.
Real said in a statement that Hazard is suffering from a psoas - the primary muscle connector between the body's trunk and lower limbs - problem but gave no indication of a likely timescale of his absence.
"Something's up, because he was never injured in his entire career [before joining Real] or there were very few injuries," Zidane said.
"It's something new. I can't really give any more of an explanation. We want to help him and hope he's back as soon as possible.
"We're going to try and figure out why it's happening (the club's injuries), but right now we can't explain it. We've spoken about things like the lack of pre-season, amount of games and the mental aspect."