• Zidane prepares for fateful fortnight at Real Madrid

    By RFI on April 7, 2017


    Zinedine Zidane has led Real Madrid since January 2016.Reuters/Sergio Perez

    By Paul Myers
    RFI —  A frantic fortnight begins on Saturday for Spanish league leaders Real Madrid in their hunt to retain the Uefa Champions League trophy and clinch the Spanish title for the first time since 2012.


    City rivals Atletico Madrid visit the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday afternoon looking to claim the local bragging rights and – with such a victory – keep fourth placed Sevilla at bay.

    With Barcelona lurking two points behind them, a loss for Real could damage their championship aspirations.

    The Catalans arrive in Madrid on 23 April for ‘El Clasico’. It could be the clash that decides the destiny of the title.

    But before the current players mine the historical hinterland of that match, Real face Bayern Munich on 12 and 18 April in the quarter-final of the Champions League.

    When Real beat Atletico last May to claim the 2016 Champions League, Real boss Zinedine Zidane became only the seventh man to win the trophy as a player and coach.

    Carlo Ancelotti, the Bayern manager and Manchester city’s Pep Guardiola are among those who have also accomplished the feat. On the eve of the game against Atletico, Zidane said he was aware that former exploits rarely slaked the Real hierarchy’s yearning for success.

    “We know that what we have done until now doesn’t mean anything, we haven’t won anything,” said Zidane. “We have won some games but the league and the Champions League is in play.”

    Zidane has an impressive record since assuming the reins in January 2016. He has lost just five of 73 games and as well as collecting the Champions League, Real have hoisted aloft the Uefa Super Cup and Club World Cup.

    “I am not preparing anything for next season,” said the 44-year-old Frenchman. “I am focused on what remains of this season.”

    Zidane added: “You know the importance of this club. I know what the role of manager entails – for good and for bad. And so I am prepared for anything.

    “I always talk about the next game because that is what matters to me until my last game as a coach here.”

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