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What Zidane said about continuing as Real Madrid coach

 

Real Madrid’s Zinedine Zidane says being a coach is exhausting and insists he has no intention of doing it for 20 years.

Zidane took charge of Real Madrid in 2016 before resigning two years later, explaining he felt the club needed a change. In his goodbye press conference, Zidane said he had not forgotten “the hard moments” of the job.

But he returned towards the end of last season and has revitalised a struggling team, with Madrid beating Real Mallorca on Wednesday to go top of La Liga with seven games left.

“I won’t coach for 20 years, I will retire before that,” said Zidane in a press conference on Saturday.

”I haven’t planned anything in my head. What keeps me going is the day-to-day (activities). In my head I have always been in football, I spent almost 18 years as a player and I said I would never be a coach. Now, I am and it wears you out a lot. We will see, but not for 20 years, that’s for sure.”

Madrid’s resurgence has been based on a solid defence, which conceded nine goals during a 21match unbeaten run earlier this season. Since La Liga resumed, Madrid has let in two goals in four.

The core of the defensive unit has been Thibaut Courtois in goal, with Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane in front and Casemiro protecting in central midfield.

“Ramos and Varane are exceptional,” said Zidane. “I don’t like to talk about individuals, but this duo has an exceptional record.

“They give us a lot of security. For me, even as someone who likes to play more, the defence is the important thing these days.”

Madrid plays away on Sunday against La Liga’s bottom club Espanyol, who are on their fourth coach of the season after sacking Abelardo Fernandez and putting sporting director Francisco Rufete in charge.

Zidane will be without Luka Modric and Ferland Mendy, who are both suspended. “We aren’t going to be complacent,” Zidane said. “It’s first against last but that doesn’t mean anything.”

Capped 108 times by France, Zidane won the 1998 FIFA World Cup, scoring twice in the final, and was named to the All-Star Team. This triumph made him a national hero in France, and he received the Légion d’honneur in 1998.

He won UEFA Euro 2000, and was named Player ofU the Tournament. He also received the Golden Ball for Player of the Tournament at the 2006 World Cup, despite his infamous sending off in the final against Italy for headbutting Marco Materazzi in the chest. He retired as the fourth-most capped player in France history.

In 2004, he was named in the FIFA 100, a list of the world’s greatest living players compiled by Pelé, and in the same year was named the best European footballer of the past 50 years in the UEFA Golden Jubilee Poll.

Zidane is one of eight players to have won the FIFA World Cup, the UEFA Champions League and the Ballon d’Or. He was the ambassador for Qatar’s successful bid to stage the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the first Arab country to host the tournament.

After retiring as a player, Zidane transitioned into coaching, and began his head coaching career at Real Madrid Castilla. He remained in the position for two years before taking the helm of the first team in January 2016. In his initial two and a half seasons with Madrid, Zidane became the firstu coach to win the Champions League three consecutive times as well as winning the UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup twice each, a La Liga title, and a Supercopa de España.

This success led to Zidane being named Best FIFA Men’s Coach in 2017 but he resigned in May 2018. Following poor results from the club in the subsequent months, Zidane returned to Real Madrid as manager in March 2019.

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Written by Mateen Badru

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