Zidane pep talk did the trick

Zidane pep talk did the trick

Zidane pep talk did the trick
Feted as one of the finest talents of his generation, Zinedine Zidane has made the transition to management so smoothly that he has already eclipsed some of the game’s most hallowed names just 17 months into his spell as Real Madrid boss.

When Zidane’s majestic strike flashed into the net to give Madrid victory in the 2002 Champions League final against Bayer Leverkusen, the French star must have believed he would never surpass that golden moment in Europe’s top-tier tournament.

Yet at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium on Saturday, he joined the managerial immortals as Madrid’s 4-1 rout of Juventus made him the first coach to win successive European Cups since the great Arrigo Sacchi of AC Milan in 1989 and 1990.

“All the coaches you mentioned, they’re great coaches. I don’t want to say I’m very good because before I was scandalously bad and now I’m supposed to be the best,” Zidane said modestly. “I have the chance to be with this great squad. In the long run, everyone’s been very important. For me that’s the success.”

Madrid’s impressive win rightly sparked praise for Cristiano Ronaldo’s predatory brace. But it was Zidane who provided the inspiration for Madrid’s first La Liga and Champions League double since 1958. After taking the lead through Ronaldo, Madrid were rocked back on their heels by Mario Mandzukic’s stunning overhead kick equaliser before the interval.

However, Zidane turned the tide in the space of a few words when he faced his uncertain players in the dressing room. Ronaldo admitted it was in those moments that the match was won. “Zidane gave us a very positive half-time team talk and told us he really believed in us,” he said.

With Zidane’s words ringing in their ears, Madrid were revitalised in the second half, scoring three times to seal the famous ‘cup with the big ears’.
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