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Zidane denies rift with new Arsenal man Dani Ceballos

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Zinedine Zidane denied rumours claiming he didn’t get along with Dani Ceballos at Real Madrid prior to the midfielder’s loan move to Arsenal.

Real signed up Ceballos in the summer of 2017 from Real Betis during Zidane’s first spell in charge. However, the €18m recruit struggled to gain favour under the Frenchman before his shock exit in May 2018.

The Spain international then experienced a change in fortunes as more regular opportunities came his way under former managers Julen Lopetegui and, especially, Santiago Solari.

Following Zidane’s return in March, however, Ceballos fell out of favour at Los Blancos once again. He ended up making just three appearances during the coach’s first 11 games back in the dugout last season.

Therefore, he’s decided to take up a season-long loan move to Arsenal to obtain regular football.

Contrary to what reports have suggested, though, Zidane insists he never had any problems with Ceballos.

“No, it’s not that I didn’t get on with Ceballos. I think Dani needed to play a lot because he’s an important player,” said Zidane, according to SportsStar.

“It’s true that at Madrid he has not had enough minutes, it’s just about that. There are a lot of players here, a lot of competition. I wish him to play many games and do well.”

As part of the agreement, Arsenal have no option or obligation to buy Ceballos at the end of next season.

The 22-year-old midfielder was one of two arrivals at the Emirates Stadium on Thursday following the Gunners’ capture of the highly-rated defender William Saliba from Saint-Etienne.

Ceballos may get his first game in an Arsenal jersey on Sunday against Lyon in the Emirates Cup final.

HOUSTON, TEXAS – JULY 20: Zinedine Zidane, head coach of Real looks on after the International Champions Cup match between Bayern Muenchen and Real Madrid in the 2019 International Champions Cup at NRG Stadium on July 20, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Bongarts/Getty Images)