Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane says Zinedine Zidane has had an immediate impact as boss and shares a ‘special understanding’ with the players.
Zidane took charge of Los Blancos in January following the sacking of Rafa Benitez. Despite being out of contention for the title, the players have looked much more relaxed at at ease in training and in games under the Frenchman compared to his predecessor – and Varane says that is because Zidane knows what it is like to be a top pro.
Speaking to UEFA.com about working with the former World Player of the Year, the defender said: “He is a coach who loves the game and likes attacking football – he likes movement [in the game], moving the ball around quickly. In training he has added a physical aspect to enable us to play higher up the pitch, which is what he is looking for in our game.
“He loves to talk and to show video clips in order to improve small details. It’s true that he is really close to the squad and of course the fact he was a player and is a young coach creates a special understanding between him and the players.”
And he added: “He became an icon at the 1998 World Cup, for everyone and for all time. He had a great impact on French football. As a little boy I watched him and he has a real aura worldwide, but especially in France.”