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Zidane praises Theo Hernandez amid Real Madrid transfer rumours

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 €24million 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.