The former Madrid boss, who won La Liga in 1997 and 10 years later with Los Blancos, backed his ex-employers to end Barcelona’s grip on the Primera Division and lift La Duodecima when asked for his 2016-17 predictions by Corriere dello Sport.
“In Spain and Europe, Real Madrid are favourites for their history, tradition and quality of their players, even though I really like Bayern Munich this year,” the Italian said.
“[Zinedine] Zidane’s had time to learn. He was [Carlo] Ancelotti’s assistant and trained Real Madrid’s [Castilla] team.
“When he reached the bench at the Bernabeu, he knew how to go about his business.
“From the off, he was aware that Madrid weren’t just about the show and turned them into a competitive team. His knowledge of the club did the rest.
“There’s a difference between the Premier League and La Liga: Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, [Karim] Benzema, [Gareth] Bale, Luis Suarez, [Antoine] Griezmann …
“These players aren’t in England, although [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic’s move to United has shortened the distances.
“[Griezmann] is a fighter and not someone who surrenders. It’s painful for him to lose two finals, but he’ll get over that bump and prove he’s one of the best players in the world.
“In La Liga, we’ll see him even more pumped up.”