Zidane hails ‘the best coach in the world’ ahead of UCL clash

Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane has hailed Manchester City counterpart Pep Guardiola as “the best coach in the world”.

Zidane’s words of praise follow the Champions League draw earlier this week that pitted Real against City, with the first leg of the last-16 tie to be played at the Bernabeu in late February.

It is a repeat of the 2016 semi-final that Zidane’s Real won 1-0, with the Frenchman in the early stages of his first spell in charge, and just two months prior to former Barcelona boss Guardiola’s arrival at the Etihad Stadium.

“It will be special to face him,” said Zidane, at a press conference ahead of his side’s LaLiga clash with Athletic Bilbao at the Bernabeu on Sunday.

“I played many times against him. I respected him as a player, and now as a coach. I think he is the best coach in the world. He has shown it throughout his career.”

Zidane’s own achievements at Real are far from shabby, and despite a shaky end to last season soon after the start of his second tenure, this term he has Los Blancos again challenging on all fronts.

In particular, Real are pushing Barcelona in LaLiga, highlighted by the goalless draw at the Nou Camp on Wednesday as the Catalan club dropped points on home soil for the first time this campaign.

As to whether winning the league was a priority this season, Zidane said: “For us the priority is day to day.

“It’s La Liga because it’s day to day, but it’s fighting things until the end. For us the important thing is to work well every day. Lately we are working very well, and we will continue like this next year.”

 

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