Zinedine Zidane named Real Madrid's new coach after Rafa Benitez is sacked; French legend targeting Champions League trophy this season
Madrid: New Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane is targeting the Champions League title this season despite admitting he is not "fully prepared" to manage at the highest level.
Master and disciple: Real Madrid's new coach Zinedine Zidane (left) during his first training session alongside striker Cristiano Ronaldo at the Alfredo di Stefano Stadium in Valdebebas near Madrid yesterday. Pic/AFP
The former France captain has replaced Rafael Benitez, who was sacked on Monday night after just seven months in charge at the Bernabeu, and takes up his first role in senior management.
Zidane had been working as manager of the club's B team Castilla and inherits a side currently third in the Primera Division table and which faces Roma in the last 16 of the Champions League next month.
Yet the 43-year-old, who won the Champions League as a player with the Spanish giants in 2002, believes the club's own drive for success will make up for his own lack of experience.
"For me, it's very simple, I'm very happy to be here," he told a press conference.
"I have clear targets and I'm going to do everything I can to reach those targets. Good football has always been important at this place, and I am going to continue that. It has to be offensive football, balanced, and nothing else.
"I have seen a team that is focused, happy and switched on and we're all happy.
"To win is essential at this club. We are in the last 16, and the target always is to win the Champions League and I will try to make that possible.
"I've got good feelings, but I have to say never is a coach fully prepared, especially a coach who has never managed at this level before, but I feel kind of prepared. I have motivation and hope and all that will help me."
David Beckham has welcomed Zidane as "the best man for the job" after Madrid's latest appointment.
Zidane is the 11th coach to be unveiled in club president Florentino Perez's reign, with Los Blancos currently trailing Primera Division leaders Atletico Madrid by four points after 18 games.
Beckham, who played alongside Zidane at the Bernabeu, took to his Instagram account to express his delight with the move. He wrote: "Does it get any better than this?? A man that has been the best at a game we all love taking over a club that myself and many more people love. The best person for the job."
Number of coaches real Madrid have changed under club president Florentino Perez's reign
June 3, 2015
Benitez is appointed Real boss, but from Day One some supporters expressed concern about whether his pragmatic style of football would work.
Reports claimed Benitez had fallen out with Cristiano Ronaldo but the Spaniard later denied it. There were also claims that James Rodriguez and Isco did not see eye-to-eye with the manager and that several senior players had wanted predecessor Carlo Ancelotti to remain in charge.
Real launch league campaign with a goalless draw at newly-promoted Sporting Gijon. The draw fuelled discontent among Real supporters.
The mood hardy improved when Malaga's Carlos Kameni became the first goalkeeper to keep a clean sheet at the Bernabeu in 56 games. the match ended 0-0 with Ronaldo alone missing over 13 scoring opportunities.
A 4-0 defeat at home to Barcelona saw the wheels come off for Benitez. Barcelona silenced the home crowd with
a Luis Suarez double and further goals from Neymar and Andres Iniesta.
Madrid were dumped out of the Copa del Rey after fielding an ineligible player — winger Denis Cheryshev — in a 3-1 win at Cadiz. They appealed against the decision, but were unsuccessful.
January 3, 2016
Gary Neville's Valencia hold Real 2-2 at the Mestalla Stadium and this proved the final straw for Real president Florentino Perez. After an emergency meeting with Perez, Benitez is out.