Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane is said to be ready to "use" his sons to beat Barcelona to the signing of Marseille starlet Maxime Lopez.

Lopez has been linked with the two Spanish giants since last season but Spanish publication Sport claims that Zidane's sons could convince him to move to the Santiago Bernabeu as they have a strong relationship with the 19-year-old playmaker.

The French starlet proved to be one of the sensations of Ligue 1 during his first season in the top flight, scoring three goals and providing nine assists in 35 appearances after having only made his first-team debut in August 2016.

Las season Zidane gushed his admiration for the player when asked about his meteoric rise during a press conference.

"[Lopez} He's part of the family and I've known him for a very long time. Especially my kids, who know him very well – they played together in Aix-en-Provence," the Real Madrid boss admitted last year. "He always had this outstanding natural talent at his age and for his stature.

"It's amazing what he's doing, not just at his age, because today age means nothing, but mostly because of the personality he has in the game. In other words, he's someone who runs a lot, but is someone who plays a lot and makes others play as well."

In March Lopez revealed that Liverpool had approached him in the past dangling the carrot to become Philippe Coutinho's long-term replacement at Anfield.

"They told me: 'In five years you will have Coutinho's position.' They sang my praises, I even met Steven Gerrard in the stadium after the match, Lopez told l'Equipe: "I wanted to go there, but also to stay at OM. To leave like that, at the age even if my family would have gone too, it was very hard. I had noted that they had 30-odd young professional players, not even counting the first team. You really have to be mentally ready."

Mundo Deportivo reported last month that in August two officials from Barcelona also met with Lopez's agent to enquire if the Marseille starlet would be willing to make a move to the Nou Camp in the future.

The Spanish publication then suggested that Barcelona could have an advantage over Liverpool and Real Madrid in a potential battle for his services due to the Lopez's admiration for Andres Iniesta.

Sport, the other major Catalan publication, reiterates that Barcelona see Lopez as a prospect for the future because, with obvious differences, his playing style was similar to that of Xavi Hernandez.

But Zidane may have an ace up his sleeve due to the strong relationship between Lopez and his sons Luca and Enzo.

According to the report the French starlet has enjoyed holidays with the sons of the Real Madrid boss in the past. Furthermore, if Lopez opts to move to the Bernabeu, he will have the chance to share the dressing room with Luca who is currently Los Blancos' third-choice keeper behind Keylor Navas and Kiko Casilla.

Sport however cautions Lopez to think twice about moving to Real Madrid because the competition for places at the Champions League winners will be bigger than at Barcelona.

Nevertheless, Zidane already has a host of young, promising midfielders in his ranks in the form of Isco, Marco Asensio, Dani Ceballos and Marcos Llorente while Barcelona's midfield is much older. Club captain Iniesta is already on the wrong side of 30 while Ivan Rakitic, Sergio Busquets and Paulinho are all 29.

Sport adds that Borussia Dortmund and AS Roma are also monitoring Lopez's situation even though he has endured a difficult start to the new season. He has featured in Marseille's four Europa League games, but has had just three starting appearances in Ligue 1.