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Zidane, Ancelotti want transfer window closed before season start

Madrid (AFP) – Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane and Bayern Munich boss Carlo Ancelotti on Friday added to growing calls for the summer transfer window to close before the season starts across Europe.

English Premier League clubs voted on Thursday to shut the 2018 close-season transfer window before the start of the 2018-19 campaign following complaints by managers that transfer activity disturbs their preparations.

The window in Europe’s other major leagues runs until August 31, meaning clubs outside England could buy players from English top-flight teams after the new Premier League deadline.

“I think the same thing as most people do,” said Zidane.

“The transfer window must stop when the league restarts. When official competition restarts, it must stop, that’s clear.”

Zidane added: “We can’t change our team during competition, that’s what I think and that’s the opinion of most people.”

Bayern coach Ancelotti, who won the 2014 Champions League title as Real’s head coach with Zidane as his assistant, says he hopes the Bundesliga follows the example set by English clubs.

“No one is happy with the situation, so this is a very good idea,” the Italian said at a press conference in Munich.

“I hope the Bundesliga will soon follow this rule.

“The market has to close before the start of the season.”

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has also given his support to making the close-season player trading period, introduced by world governing body FIFA in 2002, shorter.

– Catalan referendum –

Turning to matters even more political, Zidane said he could “not imagine a La Liga without Barcelona” in reference to another attempt by Catalonia to wrest free of Madrid.

Catalan leaders have slated an independence referendum for October 1, something Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has branded an “intolerable act of disobedience”.

Spanish sporting authorities have often warned that Barca and other Catalan clubs would be excluded from national competition should there be secession in Catalonia.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen exactly,” Zidane said.

“There some people for, some against, it’s a complicated debate. I hope that it won’t happen, I don’t want it.”

La Liga president Javier Tebas confirmed that Barca would indeed be barred from the league should independence come about.

“Should the process advance in the current direction, and I hope not, well they will not be able to play in Liga,” Tebas said Friday, adding that Barca’s sole avenue would be playing in a Catalan league.

“A Catalan championship, without saying anything more about it, would be comparable to, or a little better than, the Dutch league,” he said.

“Barca would be a super-Ajax. It would stop being a great European club, that’s for sure.”

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