Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane wants Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi to remain in La Liga amid speculation of a possible departure.
Messi, 33, is contracted to Barca until 2021 but a report emerged on Thursday, claiming the six-time Ballon d’Or winner is considering an exit.
According to Cadena SER, Messi has halted contract negotiations due to his frustrations with Barca – who are on track to be dethroned by bitter rivals Madrid this season.
Zidane was asked about the rumours regarding Messi after Madrid moved four points clear of two-time defending champions Barca thanks to Thursday’s 1-0 win over Getafe.
“I don’t know what will happen but we hope not because he is in this league and we want the best in this league,” Zidane said post-match.
Sergio Ramos was the hero for Madrid against Getafe, scoring the only goal from the penalty spot in the 79th minute at the Alfredo di Stefano Stadium.
The victory was Madrid’s sixth in a row as Los Blancos extended their advantage over stuttering Barca with five matches remaining in La Liga.
Zidane hailed captain Ramos, who took his La Liga tally to nine goals in 2019-20 following his 450th league appearance for Madrid.
“Our captain is our leader on the field, but also outside,” Zidane said of the Spain skipper, who took his career total to 100 goals.
“He is an unrepeatable player. He is unique and we know what he transmits to everyone else. I’m happy for him for his goal because when it comes to shooting a penalty, he has a lot of confidence.
“It’s almost in the 80th minute and Dani Carvajal’s effort in goal is from the whole team. We know that with patience and tranquility we can score goals. This is what happened.
“The last 20 minutes with freshness we claimed a very important result. We have to congratulate all the players because what we are doing is not easy.”
Zidane also provided an update on star centre-back Raphael Varane, who took a blow to the head and had to be replaced in the first half.
“Right now he’s not right because it’s a blow to the neck,” Zidane added. “He has gone home and the doctor is going to see him and we will see from tomorrow [Friday].
“We are not going to risk anything. It was a strong blow and tomorrow we will see exactly what he has.”