Zidane needs a win against PSG
ZINEDINE Zidane inspired France to World Cup glory as a player, but his extraordinary career has to a large degree been defined by the Champions League.
His magnificent volleyed goal for Real Madrid in their 2002 win over Bayer Leverkusen at Hampden Park in Glasgow is one of the greatest to be scored in a European Cup final.
As such, it is up there with his brace in France’s 1998 win over Brazil, his country’s Euro 2000 triumph and the infamous headbutt on Marco Materazzi during the 2006 World Cup final, as among the most memorable moments of his playing days.
He has carried on his love affair with the Champions League as a coach, from his role as assistant to Carlo Ancelotti in Real’s 2014 triumph to leading Madrid to glory himself in the past two seasons.
But now Zidane’s future in charge at the Santiago Bernabeu is hanging by a thread, possibly tied to the outcome of the showdown with a formidable Paris SaintGermain outfit. Madrid host PSG in the last 16, first leg tonight while Liverpool travel to Porto.
For 18 months after Zidane’s appointment in January 2016, the Frenchman could do no wrong, but a little of the magic has deserted him recently.
“This is an unprecedented situation, but we must live with it, hold our course,” Zidane said in an interview.
He has won eight trophies since replacing the unpopular Rafa Benitez in the Madrid dugout, including an unprecedented five in one calendar year in 2017. Zidane also oversaw the club’s first La Liga and European Cup double since 1958, as well as a record 40match unbeaten run. But now they stand fourth in La Liga, at risk of finishing off the podium in their domestic league for the first time since 2004. Finishing second behind Tottenham Hotspur in their Champions League group also exposed them to this tougher draw.
The man born and raised in a tough neighbourhood of Marseille needs a win over the Parisian aristocrats.
Since Vicente del Bosque was unceremoniously sacked in 2003, Real have appointed a new coach 13 times. The longest serving in that time has been José Mourinho, who survived three seasons.
He has not yet lost a Champions League knockout tie as a coach, and he will need to extend that run against Neymar and company to stand any chance of still being in charge of Real beyond this season. — AFP.