It's unfortunate that Zinedine Zidane, who stepped on Indian soil for the first time, did not do what he does best — dribble with a football — in front of an expectedly huge media gathering at the NSCI Complex in Worli yesterday.
French legend Zinedine Zidane addresses the media at the NSCI club in Worli yesterday. Pic/Suresh Karkera
His promoters here claimed that his contract with Real Madrid forbids him from showcasing any ball skills elsewhere. The very ball skills that helped France lift the 1998 FIFA World Cup, Euro 2000, and Real Madrid win the 2002 Champions League, with Zidane en route, being thrice named World Player of the Year, a recipient of the 1998 Ballon d’Or and the Best Player at the Euro 2000 and the 2006 FIFA World Cup.
However, his supreme CV notwithstanding, it’s simple man management that saw Zidane (43), the manager, inspire Real to their 11th Champions League title recently.
“I did not approach it (the job) as a manager. I used my experience as a player and told the players to work extra hard, especially the senior players. It’s important to work on a relationship with all the players in the squad,” said a dapper-looking, bandhgala-sporting Zidane, who is in the city as wellness ambassador for Kanakia Paris, an upcoming French-themed residential project in Bandra-Kurla Complex.
Zidane’s relationship-building particularly worked with a certain Cristiano Ronaldo, who touched down in Paris for Euro 2016, after a career high of 73 goals this season. An international title though has eluded arguably the most complete player in world football today, and who else, but Zidane to understand that. “Winning this Euro will be a dream for Cristiano. He has won everything there is to win, all that matters, in club football. Now it’s time for him to do well for Portugal. I wish him all success,” said Zidane, speaking in chaste French, being haphazardly translated by a French architect associated with the sponsor here.
Finally, not willing to take sides or make any predictions or touch upon political sensitive issues, Zidane spelt out what exactly he’ll be doing during Euro 2016.
Eye on talented players
“All the players participating in this Euro are focused and want to do well. So, being a manager, I will be closely watching the Euro to get a good idea of the players, the international talent on view. I can then probably look out for some players for Real later,” he said with a chuckle.
Regardless of whoever wins Euro 2016, Madrid is definitely the Real winner here!