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Zidane: "I'm here because I really love this club"

NEWS | 11/03/2019

"Nobody can take the excitement that I have to get back coaching and ensure that the team performs better away from me", he stated in his first press conference as Real Madrid coach.
Zinedine Zidane addressed the press gathered inside the media room at the Santiago Bernabéu after having been unveiled as head coach of Real Madrid: "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".

"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".

The squad
"I return to a squad of players that have won an awful lot. I want 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".

Nine-month break
"In the nine moments that I've been away from the club, I haven't done any interviews. I couldn't say 'No' to the president because he knows what's going on with the players and after having won so much and there's often a drop in performance levels. That's what's happened to us. I could see it from the outside and it's as if I was part of it all. I'm not happy with how things have worked out. The only thing that we can do now is to do our very best in these 11 games and see what we can do in the future".

I'm ready to once again experience what it means to coach Real Madrid and be at this great club.

"I'm not thinking about that. If I did, I wouldn't be here. My heart tells me that I've rested during these months, but the president and Real Madrid called me and that's all there is to it. My desire is what has brought me here today. It's perhaps the right time to return".

Changes for next season
"We're going to change things and we'll have to do that for next season. We've got the time to do what we need to do at the club, but we've now got 11 games to go and we want to finish on a high. I really love this club and here I am".

"I want to be amongst the players. I've followed the whole season and I think that the players are the first ones to admit that it's been a difficult year but you can't always win. That's the way things go in football and sometimes you have to accept change. Sometimes you go through rough patches and that's what's happening at the moment. It's been tough to watch from afar but I want to be amongst the players, continue to work hard and make us competitive again".

Your departure
"I left because I needed to go. 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".

Do you understand that people felt let down after you left?
"I can understand that. Everyone is entitled to their opinion but the most important thing is to act according to how you feel about things. I felt that I had to do what I did and that's all there is to it. This club is an imposing one and you've got to think about everything. Coaching is good but to coach Real Madrid is something else. That's my experience and I'm raring to get started".

Owing the club something
"You're wrong about that. I didn't owe the club anything. When I left it was the best solution for everyone. What the team needed was a change after having won so many trophies. That's all there is to it. I'm sharing what I think right now. My thoughts have changed after these nine months".

What did you get wrong during your previous spell in charge?
"We won the Champions League last season, but we were out of the LaLiga title race very early on and were knocked out of the Copa del Rey. I was the man in charge. I can't blame anyone. The coaches who've come in tried to do their best. Things panned out how they have and we've now got to look ahead and that goes for me and the players". 
Your coaching staff
"It'll be the same staff as during my previous spell".

Cristiano Ronaldo
"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".