Zidane praises Theo Hernandez amid Real Madrid transfer rumours

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Zinedine Zidane has praised Theo Hernandez to fuel speculation Real Madrid are ready to make a move for the Atletico Madrid-owned defender.

Theo came through the ranks of the Atletico youth academy and has impressed on loan at Alaves this campaign.

The 19-year-old has been linked with clubs such as Bayern Munich, Liverpool and Barcelona in recent months, but Madrid are believed to be leading the race for the left-back's signature.

Reports from Spain suggest the Santiago Bernabeu side are willing to meet his EUR24million buyout clause and Zidane has now acknowledged he is an admirer of the youngster, although he refused to confirm Madrid are preparing a transfer.

"Theo is a good player," said Zidane. "No doubt about that.

"But nothing else. I am focused on what I must do with my players, nothing else."

Theo - who has been capped for France at Under-20 level - has a contract with Atletico until June 2021.

He is the younger brother of Atletico centre-back Lucas Hernandez.