Zidane back among the immortals

Publisert kl04 juni 2017 12:10 by Editorial

THE BOSS: Zinedine Zidane. | AFP

When Zidane’s majestic strike flashed into the net to give Madrid victory in the 2002 Champions League final against Bayer Leverkusen, the French star must have believed he would never surpass that golden moment in Europe’s top-tier tournament.

Yet at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium on Saturday, he joined the managerial immortals as Madrid’s 4-1 rout of Juventus made him the first coach to win successive European Cups since the great Arrigo Sacchi of AC Milan in 1989 and 1990.

Not even Alex Ferguson, Jose Mourinho or Pep Guardiola has achieved that epic feat.

«All the coaches you mentioned, they’re great coaches. I don’t want to say I’m very good because before I was scandalously bad and now I’m supposed to be the best,» Zidane said modestly.

«I have the chance to be with this great squad. In the long run, everyone’s been very important. For me that’s the success.»

Madrid’s impressive win rightly sparked praise for Cristiano Ronaldo’s predatory brace.

But it was Zidane who provided the inspiration for Madrid’s first La Liga and Champions League double since 1958.

After taking the lead through Ronaldo, Madrid were rocked back on their heels by Mario Mandzukic’s stunning overhead kick equaliser before the interval.

However, Zidane turned the tide in the space of a few words when he faced his uncertain players in the dressing room.

Imploring his stars to believe in themselves as much as he did in them, Zidane struck the right tone and eased their fears that the trophy may slip from their grasp.

Ronaldo admitted it was in those moments that the match was won.

«Zidane gave us a very positive half-time team talk and told us he really believed in us,» he said.

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