"I don't need a goalkeeper", said Zidane on Saturday with his usual simplicity. With that neutral, confident tone, with no beating around the bush, of those who speak a language that isn't theirs. He said this with all the evidence pointing to the fact that Madrid was enlisting Kepa in an operation that reached the decisive phase of the player coming on a secret trip to have a medical in Madrid, without Athletic being told. But Zidane doesn't want the goalie, at least not now, though he might later, and he didn't hide the fact. It's an out and out challenge to Florentino, who can do two things: say the whole thing was made up by the press ('never, never, never') or sign Kepa anyway.
Kepa or Keylor or both
For me, Kepa seems like a good signing, as a second keeper now and first choice later on - he's eight years younger than Keylor Navas. Why Zidane is rejecting this reinforcement is a mystery to me. Maybe so as not to scupper the current first-choice/back-up equation, maybe because he hopes his son Luca will come through, maybe because Keylor has the backing of the big names in the squad, which would be only fair, because he's been good between the sticks. Zidane is the type of coach who aims to keep the peace in a squad and what's more, Keylor is a good performer. As the Costa Rican did against Betis in the previous crisis, the De Gea affair, he's once again saved a timely penalty.
Zidane challenging Florentino Pérez
While here in Spain we're talking about Kepa, Zidane has given an interview to France Football, who chose him as the best French coach of 2017. Reading it, it can be seen that despite all his successes, he doesn't have the backing of everyone. He doesn't know if he'll last 10 days or six months (he didn't put the limit any further out); he's aware that as a coach he doesn't have the protection he had as a player. The swan-like elegance with which he moved about the pitch kept him safe from any threats. He was one with the ball. Nowadays he depends on various external factors, not all of them easy to reconcile. And he's backing Keylor, which mean snubbing Florentino. Let's see what happens.