Perez was one of the chief masterminds behind the ESL project, which failed to materialize due to backlash from fans across Europe. In his pre-Chelsea press conference, Zinedine Zidane was asked about Perez's role in the ESL and whether he thinks that the criticism the Real Madrid president is facing has been fair. The Frenchman was quick to dismiss the question, saying:
"The president knows what I have in my heart and what I think, and we are here to prepare tomorrow’s match. The rest is not that we are not interested, it’s just not the moment to talk about it. We are going to play a Champions League semi-final, and that’s all we can think about."
Zidane was also asked about whether people associated with the club are embarrassed about how the entire situation unfolded. He replied:
"We have a match tomorrow, I’m sorry but I’m not going to answer about that. Right now people are talking a lot about whether we will be in the competition next year or not. We have to pay attention to tomorrow’s match. We don’t control that, there’s going to be a lot of conversation, and I’m just giving my opinion. We want to see Real Madrid in the next Champions League, and that’s it."
The 12 clubs involved in the ESL fiasco are yet to be sanctioned by UEFA and could potentially be banned from taking part in the Champions League next season, although nothing has been announced yet.
Zidane focusing on Real Madrid's clash against Chelsea
Real Madrid face Chelsea in the first-leg of their UEFA Champions League semi-final on Tuesday, and Zinedine Zidane seems entirely focused on preparing his side for the crucial fixture.
The Frenchman confirmed that Eden Hazard would be available for selection to face his former club after making his return from injury in a cameo off the bench against Real Betis at the weekend.
"He played 20 minutes the other day and he felt quite good. The most important thing is that he doesn’t feel anything about his problem. He’s quite well, he’s with us, he’s happy to be with us and contribute to the team a lot,” Zidane said.
Real Madrid, who beat Liverpool in the quarter-finals of the Champions League, are also involved in a fierce La Liga title race with Atletico Madrid and Barcelona. Atletico currently lead the standings with 73 points from 33 games, followed by Los Blancos, who have 71 points from 33 matches. But Barcelona, 71 points from 32 games, could overtake both teams if they win their match in hand.