Zinedine Zidane says he is enjoying working and learning alongside Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti and fellow assistant coach Paul Clement.
Ancelotti has worked closely with the highly-rated Clement at both Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain, making sure to take the Englishman with him when he joined Madrid last summer.
Los Blancos president Florentino Perez originally suggested Zidane would fill a “director of football” role in the club’s new structure, but the Frenchman then said he wanted a more hands-on coaching role at the training ground.
Such a setup led many to wonder how the trio would work together day-to-day, and the World Cup 1998 winner has now told a Canal Plus France documentary that his general duties include tactical preparation and dealing one-on-one with players who need guidance or support.
“I analyse the goals we concede, how it happens, in what minute, and help to prepare for games,” Madrid’s assistant coach said. “Paul Clement prepares the training sessions and I work more on tactics and with the players alongside Carlo. I am always available for the players. When someone is not feeling good, I am here to talk if he wants, if he needs me. Whatever the player asks.”
Zidane was already at the Santiago Bernabeu when Ancelotti and Clement arrived last summer. But he had a much less visible role during Jose Mourinho’s time in charge, amid speculation the Portuguese had demanded that only he and his chosen coaching team had access to the training ground and dressing room.
“With Ancelotti things have been done in a natural way,” Zidane said. “It was a good moment for me, for the club, and for Carlo. I could not have taken this position with a coach I did not know. I could not have been Mourinho’s assistant, for example, and anyway he already had his second in command. There was no reason to do it with him.”
The 41-year-old said he was taking the opportunity to gain both skills and experience that he could put to use as a head coach in the future.
“I am on the normal path to being a [head] coach,” Zidane said. “I am learning a lot with Carlo. I know what I want and I am capable of achieving it. I want what I am doing now to be useful for me in the future. I want to build something, and within 10 years we will do another interview and the balance of what I have done will be positive.”