I didn’t think Zinedine Zidane would become a coach, says Raul
Raul and Zidane played a number of years at Real Madrid and the Spanish striker opened up about his former team-mate.
Raul and Zinedine Zidane spent five seasons together at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, winning the UEFA Champions League and the La Liga title until the Frenchman retired in 2006. Looking back at his playing years with the Wizard, Raul confessed he never imagined Zidane in a football coach’s role, leave alone the idea of filling in the shoes of a Real Madrid manager. In an interview with Cadena Copa, Raul said, "When we were players I did not see him becoming a coach. But when we finished he decided he wanted to train players.”
Since leaving Real Madrid for Schalke in 2010, Raul has not returned to the club in any capacity but Zidane stayed close to club president Florentino Perez and in November 2010 he was appointed by Jose Mourinho as a special adviser to Real Madrid’s first-team. Thereafter Zidane travelled regularly with Jose Mourinho’s team and participated in training sessions and meetings with the head coach to start his journey of being a football manager.
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Raul continued the candid interview exonerating Zidane from his earlier thought, as he spoke about the odds he faced and the qualities he developed to beat them.
“Zidane? It was just a feeling I had. He was uncommunicative. I didn’t see him as a Coach. Sometimes you see players discuss aspects of the game with others and he didn’t.” the Spaniard noted.
In 2013, Zidane began working as an assistant manager under head coach Carlo Ancelotti when he picked up more responsibilities. Subsequently, Zidane not only helped Carlo Ancelotti develop his new signings Bale, Isco and Illaramendi into the role necessary but also learnt the knack of winning major trophies as a manager. That 2013-14 season, Real Madrid won the Copa Del Rey, UEFA Champions League (La Decima) and the UEFA Super Cup.
In the following season, Zinedine Zidane became head coach of the Galacticos B-team, Real Madrid Castilla and opportunity knocked on his door when Rafael Benitez was fired as Real Madrid manager and Zidane succeeded him on the same day. But did it happen all too soon?
Raul explained, “He went to Castilla and the opportunity has come. Now they’re all very happy.
“But it is so difficult to coach Madrid. There’s a lot of media pressure and above all, to manage the dressing room with so many important players in which everyone thinks they should play, so it’s not easy. Zidane has done a great job in that.”
Zidane helped players believe in their quality
Expressing his thoughts on Zidane’s incredible rise as Real Madrid manager, Raul said, “Zidane's message will reach the players as he has been a world-class player," he said. "For how he played, what he did, what he won. I believe he knows how to transmit his message to a squad with enormous quality. His great success was to make the players believe in their quality and by making everyone work together, he knew it would be easy to win the Champions League and difficult for anyone to beat them.”
Responding to what lies in the future for Real Madrid which, he calls his home, Raul said, "I believe that patience is fundamental in football.
"But this is Real Madrid, and sometimes there is no patience. I hope things go well with Zidane. Because what we all want is for Real Madrid to win trophies.”