Zinedine Zidane’s short career at Real Madrid has been one of the most memorable periods in the club’s recent history. The Frenchman, who is also regarded as one of the greatest players in the history of the game, has already won a Champions League, a European Super Cup, a Club World Cup and a La Liga title. The latter is Real’s first league title in five years, in which they have been through two managers before settling on the former France captain.
“What I’ve been going through with this club has been spectacular,” Zidane said in a ceremony celebrating Real Madrid’s league title. “I have the Real Madrid DNA, this is my house. No matter what happens, I’ll always be a Real Madrid fan, it’s the club of my life.”
Real Madrid are notorious for having a short fuse with managers, with Carlo Ancellotti being fired despite leading the club to their 10thr Champions League title in his first year. But club president Florentino Perez was all praise for Zidane. “You were the best player in the world, and now you are simply the best coach in the world,” said Perez, in the ceremony, “Thank you, Zizou, for everything that you have given us and for everything that you are still giving us.”
Zidane said that he would like to stay at Real for as long as possible. “I want to stay and I think that the club is also happy with what we’ve been doing so far,” Zidane said. “That’s what really matters. Right now, I’m only thinking about Saturday. We’ll see what happens after that.”
Zidane also has played for the club between 2001 and 2006. He inspired them to the 2002 Champions League title with a goal that is regarded as the greatest in the history of the tournament. Naturally, his status as one of the all-time greats of football helped him cement his place at the helm of the team’s hierarchy. His calm demeanor only helped his cause. “It’s my philosophy, and I chose it because I have such a good squad,” Zidane said, “It might have been different if I had other players. I did what I thought it was right with these players.”
Zidane will now lead Real Madrid in Cardiff against Juventus for the Champions League final. If they win it, Real will become the first team to defend their Champions League title since AC Milan in 1990. “It’s the last game of the season, the most important one,” Zidane said. “But we are going to prepare for it just like we prepared for the other matches that we played until now. We are not going to change anything.”