Coach Zidane says striker Morata happy at Real Madrid

Madrid, Jan 3 (IANS) Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane dismissed a story published in an Italian paper on Tuesday on striker Alvaro Morata’s desire to return to Juventus and said the youngster is “happy” with the reigning European football champions where he is “at home”.

Morata returned to Real Madrid this summer after a two-year stint with Juventus. But Italian daily Corriere dello Sport on Tuesday claimed that he was keen to move back to Turin.

“I don’t think that information is very true. He looks happy to me because he’s at home and he’s working well,” Zidane told realmadrid.com.

“He’s very involved in the project. I do not think what’s been said is true.”

On the future of defender Pepe, whose contract comes to an end in summer, the coach outlined his intention to keep the veteran Portuguese.

“He’s an important player and he’s part of Real Madrid. He has been here for 10 years and has already made history with us. I want him to stay here and I’m only interested in what he can do for us,” he said.

Pepe, meanwhile will miss the Copa del Rey last 16 first leg against Sevilla on Wednesday after the Portuguese sustained a muscle injury in his left leg, reports Efe.

Pepe was absent from the last training session of Real Madrid on Tuesday morning while he had an MRI scan that showed he has sustained a muscle injury.

Real Madrid will also miss the efforts of Sergio Ramos, Gareth Bale, Mateo Kovacic and Lucas Vazquez in the first leg of the Copa del Rey.

With the absence of Pepe and Ramos, the Spanish club will have only defenders Raphael Varane and Nacho Fernandez against Sevilla.

Ramos exercised alone on Tuesday, while Bale, Kovacic and Vazquez did not work out in the training session in which Norwegian Martin Odegaard participated.

–IANS

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