Madrid (AFP) – Real Madrid’s Zinedine Zidane says being a coach is exhausting and insists he has no intention of doing it for 20 years.
Zidane took charge of Real Madrid in 2016 before resigning two years later, explaining he felt the club needed a change. In his goodbye press conference, Zidane said he had not forgotten “the hard moments” of the job.
But he returned towards the end of last season and has revitalised a struggling team, with Madrid beating Real Mallorca on Wednesday to go top of La Liga with seven games left.
“I won’t coach for 20 years, I will retire before that,” said Zidane in a press conference on Saturday.
“I haven’t planned anything in my head. What keeps me going is the day-to-day. In my head I have always been in football, I spent almost 18 years as a player and I said I would never be a coach. Now I am and it wears you out a lot. We will see but not for 20 years, that’s for sure.”
Madrid’s resurgence has been based on a solid defence, which conceded nine goals during a 21-match unbeaten run earlier this season. Since La Liga resumed, Madrid have let in two goals in four.
The core of the defensive unit has been Thibaut Courtois in goal, with Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane in front and Casemiro protecting in central midfield.
“Ramos and Varane are exceptional,” said Zidane. “I don’t like to talk about individuals but this duo has an exceptional record.
“They give us a lot of security. For me, even as someone who likes to play more, the defence is the important thing these days.”
Madrid play away on Sunday against La Liga’s bottom club Espanyol, who are on their fourth coach of the season after sacking Abelardo Fernandez and putting sporting director Francisco Rufete in charge.
Zidane will be without Luka Modric and Ferland Mendy, who are both suspended. “We aren’t going to be complacent,” Zidane said. “It’s first against last but that doesn’t mean anything.”