Photo: Folha de São Paulo


24 May 2018

The last match of the European football season is coming and, before the start of the FIFA World Cup in Russia, all eyes are in Kiev and in the Liverpool – Real Madrid match, scheduled for next Saturday, May 26th.

The Reds are back to a Champions League final after the 2006/2007 season, where they lost 2-1 against AC Milan. Jürgen Klopp’ team starts as an underdog, but cannot be underestimated; the English side has a tremendous fire power in the offense and Mané, Firmino and Salah are a magic and exciting trio.

However, in the other side of the pitch, there’s Real Madrid of Marcelo, Ramos, Isco and Cristiano Ronaldo. Los Blancos won the three of the last four Champions League and with Zidane on the bench they start as the favorite team.

Paulo Sousa and Zidane in a charity match in 2013 Photo:

Speaking of Zidane, the Frenchman specialized himself in winning the Champions League. In charge of Real Madrid since January of 2016, Zizou brought the knowledge of many years on the top of the world of football and unite all his players for the purpose of winning every trophy possible.

According to Paulo Sousa, who played against him many times – one of them in the Champions League final in 1997 – the French midfielder was one of the greatest opponents he have ever shared the pitch with: “We are approaching another UEFA Champions League final and Zidane is not only the most complete player I have ever faced, but also a Champions coach. He’s a specialist on winning the UCL, where the culture of victory of Real Madrid and the experience and quality of their players combines with the knowledge and locker room management that Zidane brought, making the perfect chemistry to achieve victory”.

Photo from the '97 Champions League Final, in Munich Photo: Flash Press

Photo from the ’97 Champions League Final, in Munich Photo: Flash Press

Zidane’ reputation proceeds him; as a player was one of the best ever, sharing with few the stardom of football. Three times FIFA World Player of the Year as a player, now he wants to break another record: be the first manager to win three Champions League in a row, and join Bob Paisley and Carlo Ancelotti in the three time winners club.

Interestingly, the former French captain started his manager career as Ancelotti assistant coach in Real Madrid in 2013/2014. On May 2014, in Lisbon, Los Merengues faced their city rivals Atlético and won 4-1.

After a passage in Castilla team (Real Madrid reserve squad), Zidane took charge of the first team and started breaking records, as he won eight trophies in just two years: one La Liga; two Champions League; two UEFA Super Cups; two FIFA Club World Cup and one Spanish Super Cup. As we can see, Zizou won more international titles than domestic, becoming an expert in winning knockout trophies, as he never lost any game in the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League.

Next Saturday, in Kiev, Zinédine Zidane has the opportunity to enter a very reserved place in history and become a legend as a coach as he is as a player.

This article has been written by Paulo MCD Sousa Editors Team

Cover Photo: Folha de São Paulo