Zidane open to France job
France legend Zinedine Zidane would be open to the possibility of coaching his country one day. The 39-year-old, a FIFA World Cup™ winner in 1998, has not ruled out the idea of making a return to the international scene in the role currently occupied by Laurent Blanc.
"Les Bleus' coach? Why not?" he told Le Parisien. "It would not hurt. Everything is possible in life."
Real Madrid sporting director Zidane is full of praise for the job done by former international team-mate Blanc in rebuilding the team over the past 14 months. The 45-year-old succeeded Raymond Domenech in summer 2010 after the debacle of their South Africa 2010 campaign, with the squad refusing to train following a row between the coach and striker Nicolas Anelka en route to first-phase elimination.
Blanc has since led France to the brink of reaching UEFA EURO 2012 - they are top of Group D heading into their last two qualifiers. Zidane accepts they are not yet the finished article but believes they are on the right track.
"We must give them time," he said. "The question is whether [Blanc] was the right person to lead this team, and the answer is yes. We asked Laurent to build at an incredible rate. He has not done too badly.
"He has done a good job. He started from a long, long way back after what happened in the 2010 World Cup. For those who have experienced the failure of the 2002 World Cup, like me, you know how such difficulties can be destabilising."
Benzema praise, Nasri support
France will be without Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema for the final two EURO 2012 qualifiers, against Albania on Friday and Bosnia-Herzegovina four days later, but Zidane is backing the remaining players to see Les Bleus through.
He said: "Benzema is the most talented player in this team, but it must be able to cope without its best players."
On Manchester City attacking midfielder Samir Nasri, who has been criticised for some of his recent international displays, Zidane added: "I think we have been hard on him.
"He has not always excelled, but he has provided good benefits. He should be encouraged because he is one of our quality players, like Karim and Franck [Ribery]."