Say what you will of Zinedine Zidane, but no manager in modern football has achieved what he has. The Frenchman, after making it to his third Champions League final is as many years in charge of Real Madrid, declared that his side’s dominance was “not normal”.
The former Juventus midfielder spoke to the press after his side held Bayern Munich 2-2 in the second leg of the semi-final to go through on a 4-3 aggregate. According to Zizou, as he is fondly called,”We are still only in the final. We must be happy. It’s not usual to be in a final for the third time in a row. That’s not normal. Now, what we have to do is try to win. We will do everything possible, to fight, to defend our title at any cost, but it’s nice to get to the final for the third time in a row.”
Often criticised for his lack of tactical nous, Zidane elaborated that it is in the history of Real Madrid to do well in European Competitions. He explained,” It’s not just this team, it’s this club. It’s the history that comes from a long time ago. We are writing history like everyone else has done before us.We are doing that. We are happy. Real Madrid never gives up, even through difficulties, like we had [against Bayern]. But we believe in what we do and we will fight to achieve things.”
Set to face either Liverpool in the final in Kyiv, Zidane knows winning this one will be harder than winning the two finals his side has won in the previous two seasons. While Cristiano Ronaldo was unable to find the net against Bayern, Karim Benzema made the difference with a brace in the second leg. The oft-criticised forward, who has netted only 11 times this season, also received his boss’s backing.
“Karim showed in a Champions League semi-final, as he did last year, how good a player he is,” Zidane said.”He never gave up and I am happy for him, but I had Karim’s back as I would have done for all my players. I always will. It’s not only Karim. I think players are the ones who give us satisfaction. I am not the only one working. I have staff, we put things in place and they are on the pitch.”
“They fight and when we get a good result, it’s great for everyone.”