The World Cup winner discussed the Italian’s sacking at the Bernabeu and confirmed he is to stay on as Castilla coach for at least one more year
Zinedine Zidane insists he is not bitter about Real Madrid’s decision to replace Carlo Ancelotti as coach with Rafael Benitez – but admits he felt “bad” about the manner of the Italian’s exit.
Ancelotti won the Copa del Rey and Champions League last year but was sacked after Los Blancos failed to defend either title this term, as well as being beaten to the Liga title by great rivals Barcelona.
Zidane worked alongside the 55-year-old before taking charge of Real Madrid Castilla last summer and was saddened by the way in which his former boss was dismissed, but said he would have been aware of the risks involved with coaching in the Spanish capital.
“I feel bad for Carlo because of all he has done, but he knew what was in store for him at Real Madrid and that something like this could happen,” the World Cup winner told RMC.
“I like him a lot as a person and as a coach. I’m glad to have had the opportunity to work with him; he supported me and always spoke kindly about me. I enjoyed working alongside him. He gave me many tips, like to be myself.”
Zidane was even touted as a potential successor to Ancelotti but was reportedly overlooked after a poor season with Castilla which ended with Real’s reserves failing to gain promotion to the Segunda Division.
The ex-France international says he remains determined to coach at the highest level but conceded he is not yet ready to make the step up and was thus happy to commit to at least one more season with Castilla.
“I’m happy to be in Madrid,” he stated. “Real are my club. There is a beautiful story between us and it will continue.
“I’m going to stay on for one more season at Castilla. That’s what I want to do for now. I’m enjoying a few days off but I’ll soon be back to get ready for next season.
“This year I’m going to have more players to choose from, because Real Madrid C will no longer exist and that will leave around 60 players to make up a squad of 23. That’s the job awaiting me as of next week.
“In terms of the Madrid job, we will see what happens in the future. This was not the time for me and I’m going to take things slowly for the time being.”
Meanwhile, the ex-Juventus ace admitted that he is desperately hoping that his old side can upset Barcelona in Saturday’s Champions League final in Berlin.
“In a final, we know that anything can happen, especially with the Italians,” he added.
“While Barca are the favourites, I hope that Juve can do something great. They defeated Real in the semis and it would be great to see this legendary club at the top again.”