Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane says that being a manager is a “crazy job” that he “lives intensely” as he was named France Football’s Coach of Year and runner-up to Leicester’s Claudio Ranieri in The Best FIFA Men’s Coach 2016 prize on the same day.
Zidane had a successful first year in senior management during 2016 — taking over Madrid after Rafa Benitez’s turbulent short spell in charge, and guiding the them to victory in the Champions League final just five months later before adding the European Super Cup and Club World Cup trophies. Los Blancos are also currently well clear at the top of La Liga, and a joint-Spanish club record of 29 games unbeaten in all competitions.
Such achievements saw France Football choose Zidane as their outstanding manager of 2016, and the former France international said he felt “incredibly lucky” and was “enjoying himself” at the moment.
“I am incredibly lucky to be able to do what I love, and to taste victory,” Zidane said. “I did it as a player and I am now doing it as a coach. At the same time this is a crazy profession. I live intensely everything I do, every day, because I know that one day, it will stop. That is the coach’s life. But I do not think about that at the moment. I think about what I’m seeing today, because I’m enjoying myself.”
Zidane was pipped by shock Premier League winner Ranieri for the FIFA award, with the Italian getting 22 percent of the votes to his 17 percent. Speaking about that he told Madrid’s official website he was happy that the club’s achievements during 2016 had been recognised with Cristiano Ronaldo taking The Best player prize and joining four teammates in the FIFA FIFPro World11 2016.
“What I take away with me is everything we achieved last year, but the most important thing is for us to continue working hard with the team and what I’m interested in is that we continue to play well,” he said.
“The fact that so many of our players made the Team of the Year reflects well on the team and it’s the result of our work day in, day out. I want to thank all of the players and my coaching staff — who put the hard work in every day — for this nomination. Cristiano is the best and he consistently proves it. It’s been a fantastic year. I hope that things continue on like this.”
Spanish sports paper Marca headlined one of its reports from the Zurich ceremony “Florentino’s greatest day,” in reference to Blancos president Florentino Perez being able to enjoy an especially sweet evening at the ceremony in Zurich.
Perez planned for Zidane to take over the Madrid first team, giving him a number of roles at the Bernabeu including 18 months with the Castilla youth side before eventually promoting him to replace Benitez in January 2016.
“I thought Zidane was going to win, but you must congratulate Ranieri,” Perez said. “Zidane has plenty more time to win it. He has only been a coach a short time. He has been a great player and he will be one of the coaching greats, if he is not already. He deserved the prize as best coach. In this great football party, Madrid has swept the big prizes. It is the recognition of a spectacular season.”