Zidane: I would have said yes to Real Madrid top job

The Blancos icon was Carlo Ancelotti’s assistant in the Decima-winning season and he has revealed he wanted the position Rafa Benitez was handed

Zinedine Zidane has revealed he would have said yes if Real Madrid had asked him to succeed Carlo Ancelotti as head coach.

The Santiago Bernabeu legend was Ancelotti’s assistant in 2013-14, a season which saw the club win the Champions League and the Copa del Rey, but he chose to take charge of their Castilla side in the campaign which just finished.

When Ancelotti was sacked following the climax of 2014-15, there were suggestions Zidane could be the Italian’s successor but the club ultimately chose experienced ex-Napoli and Valencia boss Rafa Benitez.

But Zidane claims there was no chance he would have turned down the opportunity to take charge of Cristiano Ronaldo and his Blancos team-mates, though he insists he harbours no resentment towards Benitez and Madrid.

“Yes, I would have accepted the task of being Ancelotti’s successor,” he told France Football on his 43rd birthday. “I am a professional and never refuse a challenge.

“But no, I am not disappointed I was overlooked in favour of Benitez. It was felt by the board that now was not the time for me to take over. These things happen naturally, one should not force them.

“It was not meant to be on this occasion. Madrid president Florentino Perez chose another coach, and that’s that.”

Zidane also opened up about his first full 12 months as head coach during which he attained a deeper understanding of how solitary life at the top can be at times.

“For the first time I was the person who was making the big decisions,” the World Cup-winning former France midfielder added. “Being a coach means being alone. One is judged on results and what one gives his players.”

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06 2015
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