Zidane
Zidane addressed the media ahead of the first Madrid derby at the new Wanda Metropolitano. Getty

Zinedine Zidane has claimed that he decided against bolstering his Real Madrid squad during the recent January transfer window because he still has "blind faith" in his current options.

The Champions League and La Liga holders were expected to make some signings during the January window following a poor start to the season which sees them trailing Barcelona in La Liga by 19 points.

At one point, Zidane suggested that he could add a new number nine to compliment Karim Benzema in his attack after Real failed to fill the void left by the respective departures of Alvaro Morata to Chelsea and Mariano Diaz to Lyon during the summer.

Inter Milan star Mauro Icardi and new Manchester United ace Alexis Sanchez were touted as potential candidates to join them with Benzema having scored just two La Liga goals in the opening half of the season.

The arrival of an experienced centre-back to cover the summer departure of Pepe was also mentioned as a possibility while Real were also poised to sign goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Marca claimed that Real were set to meet the Spaniard's €20m (£17.6m, $24.5m) release clause to provide competition for Keylor Navas ahead of the second half of the season.

It was said that Kepa even underwent a medical ahead of completing the move before Zidane decided to block his arrival until the summer.

Kepa eventually signed a new deal at Athletic until 2025 with a new €80m release clause and Real will have surely to look somewhere else if they want to replace Navas in the summer.

Zidane's decision has been especially surprising given rivals Barcelona broke the bank to sign Philippe Coutinho from Liverpool and Yerry Mina from Palmeiras despite being in a much better position.

It has been said that the Real boss did not dare to sign or part ways with anyone during the winter window in order to avoid souring the atmosphere in the dressing room.

However, Zidane has said that he simply made that decision because he still believes that Cristiano Ronaldo and Co have what it take to turn around the situation in the second half of the season.

"We remain united in the hard times. I think my players always remain dedicated and driven. Some may think that I have done that [not signing anyone] to avoid problems. I have blind faith in my squad and I tell them that, they repay that faith with hard work, fight and knowing this is not the end," Zidane said in a press conference ahead of Los Blancos' trip to Levante on Saturday (3 February).

Los Blancos have all but said goodbye to their hopes of retaining the La Liga title while last month they also were knocked of the Copa del Rey by Leganes.

But the Real boss says that the season is not over yet with Los Blancos set to face Paris Saint-Germain in first leg of the Champions League last 16 on 14 February.

Recently, Zidane admitted that his future at the Santiago Bernabeu will rest on the double leg tie with the Ligue 1 leaders but the boss now insists that his only focus right now is on the upcoming La Liga clash with Levante.

"I'm not fazed by what could happen next year. All I'm doing is giving this season my all and preparing for our La Liga commitments. You are sitting here acting like La Liga is done for, but I don't think that is the case. We will keep plugging away, trying to win those games. In the European Cup we feel excited, raring to go, Real Madrid have won plenty of those cups already, and we're going into the next Champions League game looking to win as always," the Real boss added.

"If we only think of PSG then that is wrong. We know that we have games to come before that, we must recover our confidence and continue in this manner. We have played two league games and we have scored 11 goals. If you do things well you have many chances to win matches. We have to finish LaLiga as best we can and think that it is not said and done yet."

Kepa
Kepa was poised to join Real Madrid in January before he instead decided to sign a new deal at Athletic. Getty