In an interview with L’Équipe, Zinedine Zidane discussed the work that went into winning three Champions League titles with Real Madrid.
On winning the Champions League as a player and a manager
“It’s different. But it’s all beautiful. As a coach, you are responsible. For 25 players, but not just that, you are also in charge of a club, for a name like Real Madrid. When you win, and also three times in a row, it’s a great feeling around you and for a whole club.
“Winning the Champions League is never a matter of luck. It’s hard work. Especially three times in a row. I’ve worked like crazy. We worked hard. My players believed in me; I believed in them. It’s a lot of work with my staff. Winning as a player is not the same investment. As a player, I would get to training at 9 am. I’d leave at 1 pm and then I’d be home. As a coach, I would arrive at 8 am and often leave at 11 pm. It’s not the same day or the same stress. Here you work and you don’t just work for yourself. It never stops. Physically, sometimes I was at home, but my brain was still in the stadium. I was already thinking about training the next day, about what I had to say to a player.”
Choosing the number 5 shirt at Real Madrid
“Five years at Juventus, five years at Real Madrid. I was involved in five Champions League victories with Real Madrid: one as a player (2002), one as Carlo’s [Ancelotti] assistant and three as manager (2016, 2017, 2018). Even in my family life, the number is there. When I go to a hotel, when I’m on the fifth floor, I win the game. At Madrid, Florentino Pérez told me when I sign: “In my team, the numbers go from 1 to 11. There are no 35 or 40 on the shirts. And he said: “The only one that is free is number 5. I replied: ‘No problem, I’ll take it right away.’ The number 5 has given me a lot.”