Friday 20 October 2017

Marco Materazzi slams Rafa Benitez before wishing Zinedine Zidane 'all the best' at Real Madrid

Zidane was sent off in the 2006 World Cup final between France and Italy
Zidane was sent off in the 2006 World Cup final between France and Italy

Callum Davis

Marco Materazzi has wished new Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane luck after slamming outgoing coach, Rafa Benitez.

Zinedine Zidane took charge of his first Real Madrid training session on Tuesday afternoon after he was announced as the club's 19th manager in 20 years.

Zidane replaces Rafa Benitez at the Bernabeu after the Spaniard was fired as manager following Sunday's 2-2 draw with Valencia.

Zidane will take charge of his first game as manager of Los Blancos against Deportivo at the weekend, and the 43-year-old has received backing from a surprising source this afternoon.

Speaking to newspaper La Gazetta in the wake of Benitez's departure, the former Italian defender claimed the Spaniard's sacking was an inevitability.

"I could see it coming though I was only wrong by a dozen days. You could be the best coach in the world but you won’t get very far if you don’t have the empathy of the players, if you cannot get along with those who have a bit more personality, and those who don’t play much," said Materazzi.

Materazzi has long-been a vocal critic of the former Liverpool manager ever since the pair endured a fraught working relationship at Inter Milan in 2010.

"You can be the best in the world, but you don't go far if you don't have a connection with the players. You cannot succeed if you cannot bond with those who have stronger personalities.

"They are the ones who have to help you out on the pitch. Madrid are a difficult club and it is not enough to have the president's backing," said Materazzi.

 Zinedine Zidane famously saw red for head-butting Marco Materazzi during the 2006 World Cup final, but the Italian bares no grudge towards the Frenchman, and has backed his appointment.

"I saw no other option but for him to take charge, or for Carlo Ancelotti to return. It’s a logical choice, and the strength of Zidane’s personality will be good for the dressing room, particularly as he has previously worked with the players.

"I wish he and Santiago Solari well."

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