The last time Real Madrid won the Champions League was in 2002 when a brilliant volley by Zinedine Zidane saw Real edge past Bayer Leverkusen in an enthralling final played out at Hampden Park in Scotland. Standing on the edge of the penalty box, Zidane met the ball with his left foot and drove it into the back of the net, helping Real clinch their ninth Champions League trophy.
Twelve years later, Real Madrid are still looking for their La Decima, the tenth Champions League trophy that has proven elusive for the club in the last decade. Real have come close over the past few years, but have failed to make it past the semi-finals, succumbing three consecutive years in the semi-final stage under Jose Mourinho.
Zinedine Zidane has come a long way in his career. Having retired from football after the 2006 World Cup, the French captain found himself perform a variety of roles at Real Madrid before being appointed as Carlo Ancelotti’s assistant this season. In an interview with El Confidencial, the Real Madrid legend spoke about his time with Real Madrid as a player and how the game has evolved over the years.
“I don’t think you can compare the time when I was playing in Madrid to now,”
“Every era has it’s good and some things that are worse. Now we have a very young team but in my playing days, it was a more experienced team.”
Talking about Real Madrid’s current season, Zidane did not shy away from talks of Real targeting a treble this season. He made it clear that as a player at Real Madrid, one should be aware of the expectations that comes with the historic tradition of the Spanish club. Real Madrid are in a good position in their current campaign. Top of the league, Real face Barcelona in the Copa del Rey final and have almost gone past Schalke 04 to the quarter finals of the Champions League.
“Of course we should talk about the possibility of winning the treble. When you play at Real Madrid you know what the objectives are and you always have to give your all to win.”
“We’re in three competitions – the Cup final, top of the League and almost the quarter-finals of the Champions League.”
Talking about Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo and his heroics for the Los Blancos, Zinedine Zidane believes that the Portuguese deserved the Balon D’Or this year.
“It was well deserved. I see it every day in training. Ronaldo is there before we start and will stay for two hours after training.”
“He has no limit. Ronaldo wants more and more and more. He is a born competitor.”
Zidane also spoke about his own future, making it clear that he intends to become a manager in the near future. He played under Carlo Ancelotti as a player and is now learning the ropes of the trade under the Italian at Real Madrid and is expected to maybe take over the reins in the future.
“[Coaching] is what I want to do in the future. I’m learning from a good Coach.”
“I knew [Carlo Ancelotti] already because he was my Coach and now what I’m doing is learning to do it myself one day.”
It will be interesting to see what the future holds for the French assistant manager. A Real Madrid legend, the man who helped them win their last Champions League trophy might just prove to be the catalyst for their next one.
Image available under Creative Commons via Raphaël Labbé