Zinedine Zidane has been in charge five months and he's taken a team that was on the verge of falling apart to the Champions League Final. Furthermore, Real Madrid also fought for La Liga title until the very last weekend and that's something that the Frenchman should be proud of.
However, they must now give their very best to stop Atlético Madrid in Milan. Zidane spoke about this upcoming match in an interview with UEFA.
During these five months leading the team, what has been the biggest challenge?
Everyone knows that when I took over this team five months ago it was something completely new for me, but at the same time we needed to win games and be ready straight away. We worked hard from the start of those first three weeks to prepare for the games. It was hugely important, physically more than anything. When you are at this club you always have to give absoultely everything to win. This is what we've been doing and now we have reached the end of the season and we have the most important game of the campaign ahead of us.
How do you rate your players' form and the difficulties you're going to face in the final?
We all know it is going to be a difficult game, but we're going into it well both physically and mentally. The end of the La Liga season was extraordinary. We know it will be difficult against Atlético. As I have said, it is 50/50 and it will be that way from start to finish.
How important is winning the final to you?
We know how difficult an achievement the Champions League is. It is never an easy journey, but you can say that we have reached our first objective. Now our aim is to do everything we can to win it.
Atlético showed against Bayern and Barcelona that hey are capable of quashing teams that have a lot of possession, but Real Madrid have a slightly different style. What kind of game are you expecting?
It will be a very complicated game. They will defend well, as always. However, you can't say that Atlético is a team that only defends. They also play good football and they make things hard for their opponents. We are aware of that, we are preparing and we will try to play our game so that we don't have any regrets afterwards.
What are Real Madrid's strong points?
I would say the team, that is the most important thing for me. Obviously the players can make the difference individually, but our strong point is the group itself. Everyone feels important and has their place. They know we can only win the trophy as a team and with the effort that we put in for each other.
As a player you're admired for your acts of magic. What is more important for you as a coach, attractive football or winning games?
We try to do both. For us the key thing is to play good football. In order to win you must always play good football. We try to combine the two and we will try to be at our very best in the game. We need to prepare well, we have these two weeks to prepare ourselves and focus on it. We know that if we want to win, which is the most important thing, we will need to play well.
You signed for Real Madrid at the age of 29 and you were here for five seasons. What does the club mean to you personally?
Playing for Real Madrid was the best thing that ever happened to me. I dreamt of playing for this club, I wanted it; I wanted to wear that famous white shirt. It became a reality thanks to the President, who brought me here as a player. Now I have the good fortune to train the best club in the world, so I'm a happy man.
You won the Champions League with Real Madrid in 2002. Why is this win so important for you, apart from that famous goal?
Above all it was important because it was the only trophy that was missing. Winning it with Real Madrid was the icing on the cake. It was the only one I had left to win and I did it here, so it was marvellous. I also won it with Ancelotti, when he was first team coach and i was his assistant along with Paul Clement. Now I have another chance to take part in the final, as a coach. I treasure every moment I have had here and I tell myself that I have been very lucky to have had a great career at this club.
I'm sure you have spoken many times about your goal in Glasgow. What made you strike it first time when Roberto Carlos's cross came in from such a height?
Yes, that volley after Roberto Carlos' cross... You only score a volley like that once in your career. I tried to repeat it but it was just something that happened that night in the Champions League final. There is no explaining it. You just have to be happy and enjoy scoring such a goal. I hadn't won the Champions League and I won it with Real Madrid with a goal such as that. I have been very fortunate to experience moments like those at Real Madrid.