Former Real Madrid manager Zinédine Zidane gave a lengthy interview to the team. Selected extracts.
His transfer to Real in 2001: “I had just turned 29. I had a bottle. But I knew I was missing that one, Real Madrid. Somehow, I needed this departure to boost my career. I had been at Juve for five years, I had won everything except football. Champions League, we lost it twice, I needed this rebirth, this new challenge.
A dream come true: “It was in my head and slowly it strengthened. When you played Juve, you won everything with France, at 28-29, you have to start on another level. Real was mine. And I knew it was in Florentino. Pérez’s head. And when he has something in his head, everything goes very fast with him too. “
Number 5: “Five years at Juve, five years at Real … If one day someone looks at the place of number 5 in my life, which he digs, there are incredible things. For example, I have been involved in five Champions League victories with Real Madrid: one as a player, one as assistant to Carlo Ancelotti and three as head coach. Also in my family life, he comes back. When I go to the hotel, when I’m on the 5th floor, I win the game. 99%! There are some special things . In Madrid, Florentino Pérez tells me, when I sign: “I, in my team, the numbers go from 1 to 11. There are no 35 or 40 on the shirts!” And goes on: “The only one that’s free is 5.” I answer him: “No problem, I’ll take it now.” That 5 gave me a lot “.
His failed goal against Leverkusen: “The most beautiful, I don’t know. Maybe. Definitely. But one of the most important, yes. I needed it to win my first Champions League. I also needed to be decisive with Real in a grand final. This gesture only happens once in my life. I tried to do it again, especially for commercials. They would have liked it. But it never went well. I never did it like that. “
His UCL wins as a player and as a manager: “It’s different. But everything is magnificent. As a manager, we are responsible. For 25 players, but not only. Even for a club, with a name like Real Madrid, for an institution. It’s a huge burden that you don’t put on it. the same way as a player. When you win it, plus three times in a row, it’s a great and deep feeling of accomplishment around you and for an entire club. Winning the Champions League is never luck. It’s hard work. Especially three Times in a row. I worked like crazy. We worked a lot. My players believed in me, I believed in them. We put things together. There is a lot of work with my staff. “
He was surprised to win UCL so quickly as a manager: “No. Because when I do something it is to win. I am a winner, without pretensions. I live to win. Otherwise not. We don’t always win, but I do everything for it. When I win, I am not surprised because I gave everything. I worked. And when you work you have the right to be rewarded. When you have given everything, when you have done everything, victory is beautiful on penalties, like against Atlético for this first final, like the 3-1 against Juventus Turin in 2017 or the 4-1 against Liverpool in 2018. The reward comes from hard work, you say you deserve it. The victory against Juve, our second half, is also exceptional. Against Liverpool, we come out of a complicated championship but it is the apotheosis against of them, this success has shown all the resources of ‘a team, a company, a group that has always refused to give up.
What is left for him to accomplish? “Continue to train. I still want. And after, why not be in a project where I myself am the leader.”
And the coach first? “I want, of course. I will, I hope, one day. When? It’s not up to me. But I want to close the circle with the French team. I met this French team as a player. And it’s the best thing that ever happened to me! But Really! It’s the pinnacle. And so, while I’ve experienced it and I’m the coach today, France is firmly rooted in my head. “
PSG Coach: “Never say never. Especially when you are a manager these days. But the question is moot. It is absolutely not relevant. When I was a player I had a choice, almost every club manager, there are not fifty clubs I can go to. There are two or three possibilities. This is the current reality. Coach, we have a lot less choice than the player. If I go back to a club, it’s “It’s to win. I say this with all modesty. That’s why I can ‘Go nowhere. For other reasons, too, I may not be able to go everywhere.
His magazine on Marco Materazzi: “That day my mom is very tired. I have my sister on the phone several times during the day. I know my mom is not well but she is not very bad either. It worries me anyway. I still stay focused. But these are things that push themselves to each other The pressure, this, that. (Materazzo), does not tell me about my mother. She often said she didn’t insult my mother. It’s true. But she insulted my sister, who at the time she was with my mother. On one field, there have already been insults. Everyone talks to each other, sometimes badly, but you don’t do anything. There, that day, what happened happened. You triggered something by talking about my sister Lila. The space of a second, and it’s over … But then, you have to accept. I’m not proud, but it’s part of my journey. At that time I was more fragile. Sometimes it’s moments like these that you can do something wrong … “
Coaching stars like Cristiano and Benzema: “Having lived their thing helps. But most of all you don’t have to want to be more of them. You are the coach, no problem. You are the one who dictates the path but, on the other hand, he doesn’t have to disturb them. they make a difference on the pitch. And I have no ego on that. I’ve experienced these situations with many coaches or players who wanted to be more than others. At some point, it just doesn’t work. “
His relationship with Benzema: “There is affection. Karim is like the little brother I did not have. I am the last of the family. Our relationship has grown. We met when he arrived in Madrid, I was adviser to the president and then second to Carlo , there we see each other a little less, we exchange messages, but he knows where I am, I know where he is.
The Ballon d’Or for Benzema: “It’s not just me telling her to give it to him, it’s the whole world! It’s worth it.”
His Champions League-Liga double in 2017: “He is strong because he is more difficult. It is fantastic to win the Champions League. But the most difficult and beautiful thing after a whole season is to win the Liga. When you are 38 days old and you are champion, it is fabulous. The Champions League is prestigious, a lot of them. they prefer to win it, but the difficulty of La Liga makes it even more magnificent, it rewards everyday life, preparation for every match, every training session. The Champions League is 13 games with increasing intensity. The players are there and even more in the big knockout matches. But La Liga, you have to always be there. So the two, double as in 2017, is huge. “
His typical team of players he coached at Real: “I can’t do any particular case. I, however, felt more pleasure in training. The game wasn’t exactly fun because there was a sentence. C It’s strange to say. We are more in action, there is pressure, we are about the players. I always gained height but the game before, during, it’s still hot. the training, it was just great with these players. The pleasure was really there. I enjoyed seeing the small games, Modric, Benzema, Kroos, a touch. The 2016-2017 season, in training, I had a headache to team up! The 22-23 players who trained, everyone could play. We knew there was 7-8-9, but for the last two, it was very difficult, I said to myself: “You saw it, the week it had.” The choices were hot. This is the coach’s difficulty: making choices. But that’s the job. “