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Very tough for Zidane and ageing Ronaldo to match Barcelona – McManaman

Former Real Madrid winger Steve McManaman thinks Zinedine Zidane is capable of being a successful head coach at the Santiago Bernabeu, but feels it will be tough to usurp Barcelona in the short-term.

Zidane replaced the sacked Rafael Benitez as head coach in January and is yet to suffer a defeat after eight matches in charge ahead of his side’s crucial home derby against Atletico Madrid on Saturday.

McManaman backed the former World Cup winner to do well in his new role, but believes the combination of Barcelona’s continued improvement and the fact that Madrid’s key man Cristiano Ronaldo is ageing makes immediate success extremely difficult.

He told Omnisport: “I think Zizou will be a wonderful coach, I really do, but the fact that he is chasing down this Barcelona side – it is going to be very, very difficult for them because the best player at Real by a long way is Ronaldo and he is 31 now.

“Whether he is coming to the end of his superpowers I don’t know but he is certainly the wrong end of 30, while Barca seem to be getting better and better to be very honest.

“The team that are formed at Barcelona at this moment are wonderful so I think it is going to be very hard for Real Madrid to catch them in the near future, certainly over these next couple of years.

“Unless they go out and spend trillions of pounds which of course they can’t at this moment in time [due to their FIFA transfer ban].

“I think it is going to be difficult for Zizou but I think he is going to be a great Real Madrid manager anyway.”

Fri 26 Feb, 2016
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