Champions league

Zinedine Zidane: Pep Guardiola the best coach in the world

Real
Madrid’s
Zinedine
Zidane
called
Pep
Guardiola
the
best
coach
in
the
world
ahead
of
their
Champions
League
encounter
in
February.

Zinedine
Zidane
lavished
praise
on
Pep
Guardiola
after
Real
Madrid
were
drawn
against
the
ex-Barcelona
coach’s Manchester
City
side
in
the
Champions
League.

Two
presumed contenders
will
square
off
in
a
highly
anticipated
last-16
tie,
with
the
first
leg
to
be
held
at
the
Santiago
Bernabeu
on
February
26.

Guardiola
welcomed
the
challenge,
saying
it
would
be
“special”
to
share
a
touchline
with
Zidane,
a
man
he
“dreamed”
of
playing
alongside.

The
Frenchman
returned
the
favour
ahead
of
Madrid’s
LaLiga
game
against
Athletic
Bilbao,
going
so
far
as
to
call
Guardiola
the
world’s
leading
coach.

“Yes
[it
will
be
special].
I
played
against
him
many
times,”
Zidane
said
on
Saturday.

“I
respected
him
as
a
player
and
I
respect
him
as
a
coach.
I
think
he
is
the
best
in
the
world
and
has
demonstrated
that
throughout
his
career.

“Of
course,
I
really
want
to
face
him,
to
play
against
him
and
his
side. Not
just
myself but
all
of
us
here.”

Overcoming
the
Premier
League
champions
would
be
a
huge
boost
for
Madrid
in
their
bid
to
be
crowned
Europe’s
best
for
the
fifth
time
in
seven
years.

Zidane
has
overseen
three
Champions
League
victories,
success
equalled
only
by
Carlo
Ancelotti
and
Bob
Paisley,
yet
the
Los
Blancos
coach claimed
trophies
were
not
what
motivated
him
to
prolong
a
potentially
brief
foray
into
coaching.

“I
don’t
know
if
my
career
will
last
long,”
he
said.
“It
will
depend
on
what
I
feel.
I
am
atypical,
because
what
interests
me
is
the
day
to
day,
how
I
am
with
the
people
who
work
with
me.
We
will
see,
but
I’m
sure
I
won’t
be
going
up
to
60
or
70.”

Madrid’s
home
match
against
seventh-placed
Athletic
comes
four
days
after
the
club’s
strong
showing
in
the
goalless
Clasico
draw
against
Barca.

Federico
Valverde
impressed
in
midfield,
raising
more
questions
over
whether
his
development
would
be
stifled
should
rumoured
target
Paul
Pogba
arrive
from
Manchester
United.

Zidane
said:
“I
can
only
talk
about
my
players.
They
are
doing
well.
Fede
is
part
of
the
heritage
of
the
club
and
we
are
glad
he
is
with
us.”

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