Zinedine Zidane savours win as coach

Zidane, who assisted Real Madrid manager Rafa Benitez initially, became a full time manager in January this year.

Mumbai: French legend Zinedine Zidane won UEFA Champions League as a player for Real Madrid in 2002 but he felt it was more satisfying to win it as a manager last month as he had control over the whole team.

“It was wonderful to win the UEFA championship as a player but it is huge satisfaction to win as a manager. Training all the team (members) is amazing,” he said in an interaction here. Zidane is on his first ever visit to India with his wife Veronique as “wellness ambassador” of “Kanakia Paris”, which is a French-themed residential project coming up in Mumbai.

Zidane who assisted Real Madrid manager Rafa Benitez initially became a full time manager in January this year and has changed the fortunes of the club who were struggling midway through the (2015-16) season.

“I was a young trainer and used my experience as a player, told them to work extra hard and to work on relationship with other players in the squad. I brought passion and knew the team and capability of the all the team members. I organised the idea and players followed the direction. Even if we won the Champions League we have lot of hard work to do,” he said.

Real Madrid hasn’t won a La Liga title since 2012 and the 43-year-old is not taking any pressure to lead the side to La Liga title next season to secure his job as a manager. “I am totally conscience about the situation. I enjoy day after day. Target is to improve himself day after day,” he said.

The former attacking mid-fielder who was instrumental in France’s World Cup win in 1998 and Euro Cup win in 2000 said he will be watching the Euro Cup in France keenly and passionately. He also felt young France team is capable to do well and forget hard times especially aftermath of the Paris attacks.

“I will watch all Euro matches with attention. There will be no tension on players. It will be bonus for players to play in their own country. There will be no additional pressure and it will be like 12 players on the field with all the support. It is an excellent team and they have to show their level and capacity,” he said.

Zidane felt Belgium would be a team to watch in the competition if they can click together as a team. “Belgium has an excellent team if they play together and deliver the best game they can be the team to watch,” he said.

He felt it would be great for Real Madrid star Christiano Ronaldo if he wins Euro Cup for Portugal. “Ronaldo has won everything he could even imagine. Winning the title with national team will be great for him,” he said.

Zidane who was involved in infamous head-butt with Italian player Marco Materazzi in the 2006 Fifa World Cup final said he urges the players to stay calm.

“Provocation can be there, I say players that you shouldn’t reply and concentrate on the game. I am not proud of what happened in 2006. I am not advising players to behave in such a manner. It happened, it just happened. It is part of life. We make mistakes and have to learn from mistakes,” he said.

The Algerian descent former French international said racism should end completely. “I haven’t faced racism myself but it should be curbed completely not only in the sport but in the entire world,” he said.

Zidane politely said that he didn’t knew anything about Indian football and Indian Super League where former star French players like Nicolas Anelka were also involved.” I am completely focused on the Real Madrid job."

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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