Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane has called UEFA’s threat to kick the club out of the Champions League following the fall-out from the proposed European Super League “absurd”.
While eight of the 12 rebel clubs have officially backed out of the controversial project, Real Madrid and their president Florentino Perez have not formally withdrawn from the project, insisting it is still on standby despite the lack of support.
Among the possible punishments for the clubs which are yet to reject the Super League plan, UEFA said that breakaway members could be banned from future European competitions.
However, UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin suggested earlier in the week there was only “a relatively small chance” Tuesday’s Champions League semi-final first-leg against Chelsea would not take place with Zidane also unfazed by the situation.
“We have the right to play the Champions League, it is absurd, and we are going to prepare for it.,” Zidane said.
Before facing Chelsea, second-placed Real Madrid host an improved Real Betis on Saturday with Atletico Madrid three points clear at the top of La Liga with six games left to play.
The match against Betis will be the second time Madrid have played since the controversy caused by the Super League announcement last weekend, with Zidane saying he is not bothered by similar protests such as the t-shirts condemning the Super League that Cadiz players wore before their match on Wednesday.
“Everyone is free to say what they want,” Zidane added.
The Insider: How Super League was doomed to fail
Sky Sports News reporter Kaveh Solhekol
There was a frantic race to be first to quit the European Super League (ESL) on Tuesday.
Manchester City were the first club to have serious doubts, quickly followed by Chelsea. There was a feeling that there was a small reputational benefit to be gained from being first to quit.
Chelsea were the first club to let it be known that they were leaving just before 7pm. At the same time, Man City were telling the ESL they were withdrawing and that was confirmed at 7.20pm. By then, the whole project was doomed.
The other clubs knew it was all over when Chelsea and City quit and during a series of phone calls it was agreed that Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United and Tottenham would announce they were leaving at 11pm.
There is a lot of anger and recrimination inside the breakaway clubs and the majority of it is directed at the small group of owners and chief executives who tried to push this through. There are a lot of unhappy managers and a lot of unhappy players.
I’ve been told that it will be very difficult for some of the people who were behind this to go into meetings with the other 14 Premier League clubs because the trust has gone. Apologies and statements aren’t going to be enough.