Earlier today, Real Madrid legend Zinedine Zidane presided over his first training session as the new coach of Real Madrid Castilla, otherwise known as the club’s ‘B’ team.
Zidane was most recently part of Carlo Ancelotti’s coaching staff that won ‘La Decima’ for Real Madrid last season. Today was the first time the former French international has taken control of a side as its principal team coach.
In a revealing interview with the French newspaper L’Equipe, Zidane was asked how he would react if one of his own players were to headbutt an opponent (an obvious reference to Zidane’s actions during the 2006 World Cup).
The manager of Real Madrid’s ‘second string’ said: “If I was the coach and one of my players did that? Honestly, I would be disappointed but I would not come down hard on him. I would try to understand what happened and I would support my player.”
Zidane’s infamous headbutt resulted in him being sent off in the World Cup final against Italy in 2006 after he drove his head into the chest of Marco Materazzi.
In the interview with L’Equipe, Zidane said there is normally an underlying reason for outrageous behavior such as his own. The first time coach went on to say he feels he should have received more sympathy than he did at the time.
In the aftermath of this scandal, Zidane indicated that he had been verbally abused by Materazzi. That accusation was later confirmed by the Italian news outlet Gazzetta dello Sport when they interviewed the Italian defender. In that report, Materazzi revealed that he made a remark about Zidane’s sister which provoked the French captain into his moment of madness.
Aside from his thoughts on headbutts, Zidane also spoke about last season’s Champions League final in Lisbon. He indicated that post-match stories of his extra training sessions with the players which specifically targeted a penalty shootout were true. Zizou’s response was that in the week leading up to the match, some of the players sought him out for advice and had asked him about his famous penalty against Italy in the 2006 World Cup, when he boldly decided to chip the ball over his former Juventus teammate and Italian goalkeeper, Gianluigi Buffon.
“[Real Madrid] practiced penalties the whole week before the Champions League final against Atletico Madrid [last May] and players asked me about the 2006 World Cup final and about this penalty,” Zidane stated.