Real Madrid legend Zinedine Zidane says footballers need to have the right mentality from a young age if they are to make it to the very top of the game.
Zidane enjoyed a hugely successful playing career in Italy with Juventus and Spain with Real Madrid, winning numerous titles including La Liga, the Copa del Rey and the Champions League. At international level, he spearheaded France’s success in the 1998 World Cup and also helped them win the European Championship two years later.
In an interview with Shortlist, the Real Madrid Castilla boss was asked what players need to do to reach the top. And he responded by saying they must ignore the distractions such as money, fast cars and everything else celebrity brings.
“I remember the [then] club president at Juventus Gianni Agnelli, asked me why I wasn’t interested in the nightclubs of Turin, the girls, and why I didn’t turn up to training in a Ferrari. Maybe 30 years ago you could live that life and still be a top player, but for the past 15-20 years that has not been possible. Players are so physically fit, ability is not enough. That is why we have seen so many wasted careers. If you don’t have the right mentality off the field and let things get in the way, then you will not have the right mentality on it,” he commented.
And he added: “For 17 years football was everything to me. It’s all I did, all I thought about, it was all the players at Read Madrid focused on. Training, games, it consumed me. You don’t just win, you think about winning, it becomes your everything. That is why even when I finished playing, I could not sit around on my couch watching football, I needed to be a part of it. I still need to know what success and winning feels like even if it is not as a player. You can’t fake those emotions, they come from focus and mentality.”