Zinedine Zidane: “Winning the Champions League is not luck, it’s hard work.”

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.”


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