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Zidane plays down Guardiola comparisons

Zinedine Zidane was quick to play down comparisons with Pep Guardiola at his first media conference as Real Madrid boss on Tuesday.

Zidane was named head coach at the Santiago Bernabeu on Monday after succeeding Rafael Benitez, who lasted just seven months in the hot seat.

The Frenchman’s career path mirrors that of Guardiola, Zidane starring as a player for Madrid before coaching the B team and then getting his chance to take charge of the senior side.

Guardiola followed the same route at Barcelona with his four years in charge at Camp Nou between 2008 and 2012 returning 14 trophies in a glittering spell in the Catalan club’s history.

“You can’t make that comparison,” said Zidane. “Pep is Pep and I will do my best.

“Guardiola is a fantastic coach and what he is doing is impressive but I won’t compare myself to him.

“I didn’t do that as a player and I won’t do it as a coach.”

Zidane, who has agreed a two-and-a-half-year deal, says he feels “kind of prepared” after taking on arguably the biggest job in club management.

He added: “What is important is what I will try to do to add to the squad. I will try my best so that we work hard.

“I have good feelings, but a coach is never fully prepared, especially one who has not been at this level before, but I feel kind of prepared.

“I have motivation, hope and all that will help me and help everything to go well.”

Zidane worked as an assistant under Carlo Ancelotti during Madrid’s Decima-winning season in 2013-14 and also claims to have taken something from other prominent coaches in the game.

“It’s true I knew [Jose] Mourinho and Ancelotti and had many coaches as a player and I think I took something from each of them,” he continued. “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.

“There is change today, but I believe you must respect and think the work Rafa Benitez did was very good. I wish him luck.”

Tue 5 Jan, 2016
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