After a year and a half in charge of Real Madrid B, Zinedine Zidane was made the club’s first-team coach on Monday, his maiden coaching job with a top-flight team. Now 43, the former France midfielder begins his tenure with a home game on Saturday against Deportivo La Coruna.
Not surprisingly, Zidane’s appointment caused quite a stir around planet football, with the quotes coming thick and fast from his ex-team-mates and coaches, ten of which have been picked out by FIFA.com.
“Does it get any better than this?? A man that has been the best at a game we all love, taking over of a club that myself and many more people love… Someone with drive, passion and also doesn’t accept failure on any level… THE BEST PERSON FOR THE JOB.” David Beckham, a former team-mate of Zidane’s at Real, on Instagram.
“He deserves it because he’s worked hard to be a good coach. He respects everyone and he’s a wonderful person. I hope he comes out a winner.” Former France striker Christophe Dugarry, talking to Infosport+.
“I am very happy. I am very happy for him because he’s giving his all to his coaching career. It’s a life choice. He was in charge of the reserves at Real Madrid, and he’s now been given the chance to coach a first team, the Real Madrid first team no less. It reminds me a lot of Pep Guardiola’s career. Zizou’s making the same start and I hope he goes on and has the same career. I know just how committed he is to the job.” Ex-France defender Bixente Lizarazu, talking to RTL.
“It’s wonderful. Fantastic. He’s done his courses and he’s ready. He has taken things step by step. I’m a fan of Zizou’s, and I’m talking more as a footballer than as a friend. People sometimes justify themselves by doing a lot of talking but he’s never had to do that. He’s a born leader.” Former France goalkeeper Fabien Barthez, talking to RMC.
“He hasn’t become first-team coach just like that. There aren’t many coaches or former players who’ve got the stature he has. He’s got that to back him up. We’ll just have to wait and see how the players take to him. If you ask me, though, it’ll work out. No worries.” Ex-France coach Raymond Domenech, talking to Europe 1.
“I might have been a bit sceptical two or three years ago but I’m right behind Zizou now. You can see that he’s changed and that he’s capable of giving out advice. I see a leader now and not just someone who was a captivating player. He’s a real leader of men and the dressing room. He has everything you need to succeed at Real Madrid. That said, you can’t bet on a coach being a success.” Ex-France defender Franck Leboeuf, talking to RMC.
“It’s a good thing for him. He started to pick up experience, albeit with the reserve team. That’s how Pep Guardiola started out too. As I’ve often said to him, he can’t take his players to task for not being skilful enough because he’s only going to have good footballers at his disposal. It’s always easier to coach quality players in a team where everyone is a potential matchwinner.” Former France midfielder Olivier Dacourt, who obtained his coaching badge with Zidane, talking to Eurosport.
“He’s not chosen the easy way because this is Real and it’s halfway through the season at a club where the fans are very demanding. They don’t give you any time. It’s tough, but he knows the Bernabeu and the president inside out. The players have a huge amount of respect for him, which is a big thing in his favour. They’re hard-headed and there are some big egos that need handling there. The good thing is that Zizou knows them all. He had them under him when he was the assistant.” Ex-France winger Robert Pires, talking to Le Parisien.
“I would have been surprised a year and a half or two years ago, but I’m not today. I don’t think he could really see it back then. He’s made the decision to go for it, and if you know him, you know very well that when he decides to do something he goes all the way.” French coach Guy Lacombe, who brought a young Zidane through at AS Cannes, talking to Infosport+.
“He’s one of the greatest champions of all time and I know he has the personal values you need to coach Real Madrid. He’s quite shy – we know that – but these days you don’t need to shout to make yourself heard. The important thing is to be consistent.” Former France defender Vincent Candela, talking to RMC.