“Nobody can take the excitement that I have to get back coaching and ensure that the team performs better away from me,” Zinedine Zidane said on Tuesday at his first news conference on returning to Real Madrid.
Addressing a news conference inside the media room at the Santiago Bernabéu after having been unveiled as head coach of Real Madrid, Zidane said: “I’m feeling good and am happy to be back. I’m delighted to be back working at this great club and with this squad of players. When the president called me, the first thing that I thought about was coming back and here I am. This is an important day and I’m here because I really love this club.
“It’s a big challenge and I’m not thinking about the past because if I had done, I wouldn’t have come back. It’s about more than returning to Real Madrid. I’m really raring to head up this second project and serve the president, the club and the fans. I’m really raring to return and nobody can take my excitement to coach this team and ensure that they perform better away from me. I’m back in charge of the project with renewed energy after nine months out. I’m ready to once again experience what it means to coach Real Madrid and be at this great club, which I really love”.
According to Zidane, “It’s a big responsibility because those that are here really love this club. I’m just like them, I represented this badge and shirt as a player and won a lot, but I’m just one of many. I haven’t forgotten about what we won, but I also remember the things that we didn’t do so well. We lost out in the battle for LaLiga and the Copa del Rey early on, and although we won the Champions League, I’m fully aware of the club I’m joining. Nobody can take the excitement that I have to get back coaching away from me. I’m going to give my all to get the team performing better”.
On the squad, Zidane said he returned to a squad of players that had won an awful lot and that he wanted to be back with them, work with them and do a good job, starting on Saturday.
“Our 11 remaining games are the most important thing now,” he said.
On his departure, he said he left because he needed to go and that the squad needed a change after having won everything going.
“That’s what happens at this club. That’s how I saw things. I made the decision to return because the president called me and here I am because I really love the club and the president. After eight months off, I’m raring to get coaching again.
“I want to be clear. When I left it was because I needed it at that time and the dressing room also needed it. I left because I thought and believed that after two and a half years in which we’d won it all, something needed to change. I know what’s gone on this season and what this club is all about. I thought that it was the right decision and I now think that it’s the decision that I had to take. I had several offers on the table, but this is where I want to be. We’ve got to finish the season strongly and prepare properly for next year.”
On Cristiano Ronaldo, he said, “We’re not here to talk about him today. We’ve now got 11 games to come, we’re going to focus on them and we’ll then think about next year. Cristiano Ronaldo rewrote the history books at this club and nobody can change that. He’s been one of the best players, but today isn’t the day to be talking about that.”