Zidane feels 'lucky' to be back in Champions League final

by

May 27, 2016
Zidane

MADRID, AP:

Zinedine Zidane couldn't have asked for much more after only five months as Real Madrid's head coach. The former France great has a chance to end the season celebrating the Champions League title, just like he did 14 years ago as a player for the Spanish powerhouse.

Victory tomorrow against Atletico Madrid would cap a superb start to Zidane's head-coaching career, joining Miguel MuOoz, Giovanni Trapattoni, Johan Cruyff, Carlo Ancelotti, Frank Rijkaard and Pep Guardiola as the only men to have won the European tournament both as a coach and a player.

Zidane would also become one of the few coaches to win European football's most important club competition in his first job as a head coach, along with seven other men, including Guus Hiddink, Vicente del Bosque and Guardiola.

Zidane scored with a remarkable left-foot volley on the edge of the area to give Madrid its ninth title in the 2002 final against Bayer Leverkusen. He also won the tournament as an assistant coach to Ancelotti two years ago - against Atletico.

"I'm lucky to be here and share these moments with the players and fans. I'm very happy," the 43-year-old Zidane said."

PUT TEAM BACK ON TRACK

He led Madrid to the final in Milan after taking over a club in crisis under coach Rafa Benitez. After an up-and-down start, he put the team back on track and it finished the season by winning 15 of its last 17 matches.

Madrid won its last 12 Spanish league matches to finish only one point behind champion Barcelona.

"After he arrived, everybody could see that the team improved," Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos said.

A loss tomorrow would leave Madrid without a title this season, although Zidane's first spell as head coach would not likely be defined by that.

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