New Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane held his first press conference on Tuesday. Below are excerpts from the conference…
What is your aim for this season?
To win everything. That’s our goal. We have two that we can win and we’re going to go for it.
Will it help you knowing the squad already?
It’s an important point. I know the players from when I worked with Ancelotti. It’s important in that sense but the work is also important, and the message that we’ll try to get through to the players.
What message do you have for the fans?
I am going to say the same I told the players. Excitement, desire. We’re going to try and be really exciting and entertaining for the fans, who know a lot about football. We’re going to do everything to make them happy.
How did this happen?
We haven’t talked about the contract yet. The decision happened on Monday, they proposed that I took over the team and, of course, I accepted.
Will you play Cristiano, Bale and Benzema together regularly?
Yes. I’ll play with all three. Clearly that’s the idea.
What do you want from this job?
I want to perform with my players and win games, that’s it. What’s going to give me something, make me feel good, is winning matches.
There are some people who are going to work with me, three or four people that will be my team and that’s that.
How do you feel about being a manager at last?
It’s a new stage for me, I’m going to have a new role but although I’ve had time to work on it, it’s going to be a challenge for me. A challenge I’m eager to take.
I want to take advantage of this opportunity. I’m at the best team in the world and all I want is to win titles with this team.
What now for Gareth Bale?
Gareth was disappointed with the sacking of Rafa because he was an important coach for him but I will treat him the same way Rafa did.
He is an important player and a key player for the squad. He’s phenomenal and we’re going to give him all the care and support he needs.
Real Madrid expect a different way of playing, how will you change from Rafa?
I am going to try and contribute with my personal touch. I am going to try and follow my game as a coach, but make sure that the players have fun on the field – probably the way they did with Rafa actually – and that’s what I’m going to do day after day.
As a player, how hard is it to get a new coach mid-season?
The important thing is to motivate the players. We have to appreciate that their work with Rafa Benitez was very good and I’d like to say good luck to Rafa in everything you’re going to do now.
We’re going to try and do everything properly, help the players improve and nothing else.
In what areas will you be working on first?
The motivation and excitement of playing for this club. The most important thing for this team is to play football and my concept for that is to try and play fast, possession football in the opposition half. That’s my idea of football.
You worked with Mourinho and Ancelotti, what’s your model as a coach?
It’s true I knew Mourinho and Ancelotti and had many coaches as a player and I think I took something from each of them. They were experienced coaches so it was important to learn from them.
I need to be a coach my way. Each of them would say that you should do the thing that’s right for your team and your players, not what another coach is doing… I have to be Zidane.
Will you have more leniency because of your status as a player?
Not at all. The rule for the coach is to get results and that’s the same in my case. It’s what happened when I was playing here and now it’s a new stage in my career, one I’m excited about.
Probably the attitude of the first-team players will be different because they’re experienced but the message I transmit to my players will be the same as with the second team. Hard work, the intensity that we are going to work with in each training session. That’s the message.
How does it feel to be Real Madrid manager, do you feel ready?
It feels good. Bear in mind that a coach is never prepared, but I’m motivated and excited and this is going to help everything work out okay.
You were overlooked in the summer, why are you ready now?
Six months have gone by and that is that. I don’t think this question is valid.
Are there parallels between your promotion and that of Pep at Barca?
You can’t compare me with Guardiola. I’ll try to do the best possible job but Guardiola is a wonderful coach and what he is doing is amazing.
But I won’t compare myself, I never did that as a player and won’t do it as a coach.
I’m going to do everything possible so that me and this team work together well.
Winning is key at this club. We are in the Champions League round of 16 and it was always the goal to win the Champions League. Everything is possible this season.
We will play beautiful football…attacking football. This is very important for us, for me, for the team, for everyone.
What were your first words for the players today and how did you feel about it?
My first words were important for the players, bearing in mind that we trained in front of the fans. They were simple: I was really happy to be with them and a new adventure was starting. We have great goals but we will do everything to meet those goals.