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Zinedine Zidane says transfer ban ‘absurd’

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane leaves after giving a press conference in Madrid on September 9, 2016 © AFP / Gerard Julien

MADRID, Spain, Sep 9 – Coach Zinedine Zidane has slammed as “absurd” a one-year transfer ban imposed on Real Madrid by FIFA for irregularities in the signing of foreign players under 18.

The Frenchman’s own children are among those part of the case against the European champions.

FIFA dismissed Real and local rivals Atletico Madrid’s appeals against a two-transfer-window ban on Thursday, meaning they will not be able to register any new players until January 2018 unless further appeals to the Court of Arbitration for Sport are successful.

Two of Zidane’s four sons who play in the Madrid academy were among 39 players investigated by FIFA, with the club eventually sanctioned for breaking the rules regarding the signing of foreign nationals under 18 in eight cases.

“I don’t understand it at all and it bothers me,” Zidane said on Friday ahead of Madrid’s clash with Osasuna.

“I can talk about my (sons) that have been born and lived their whole lives here. It is absurd that they can’t play football.

“What we are going to do now is wait and hope that this subject is fixed as quickly as possible.”

Under international football rules, players under 18 cannot be transferred to another country, except in limited circumstances, and all transfers need the approval of a special FIFA committee.

However, Zidane’s sons appear to meet those criteria as the former World Player of the Year’s family has largely been based in the Spanish capital since he signed for Real as a player in 2001.

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On the field, Zidane can continue his incredible first year as a senior coach as having lifted the Champions League in May, Real can match a club record of 15 consecutive La Liga wins at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday.

Madrid will be massively boosted by the return of Cristiano Ronaldo for the first time since the Portuguese suffered knee ligament damage in the final of Euro 2016.

However, Zidane denied reports he had agreed to bed Ronaldo back into action gently in an attempt to prevent the 31-year-old suffering from knee problems towards the end of the season as he has in recent years.

“He is happy, he is with us and there is no pact. It is his first game after 60 days so we need to give him time, but I am happy he is here and he will play tomorrow,” added Zidane.

“Cristiano is an important player for the team and I always want him with me.”

Zidane confirmed he will leave out Marcelo, Casemiro and James Rodriguez after their exertions in South American World Cup qualifying this week, but Karim Benzema is also set to make his return from injury up front.

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