Zinedine Zidane has admitted that the pressure is already on to win an 11th European Cup as he faced the press for the first time since taking over from the sacked Rafael Benítez.
Real Madrid last won what they consider to be their holy grail in 2014, the year of “La Decima” when they beat Atlético Madrid 4-1 in the final, and will first see action in the Champions League under their French coach when they fly to Roma in the first round of the knockout stages on 17 February.
“To win is absolutely essential in this group,” Zidane said of that game, “and I’m very aware of it.
“We are in the last 16 and the target is always to win in the Champions League and will continue to be so and we’ll try to make it possible.”
Asked about his emotions when he was handed the job by the president, Florentino Pérez, he said: “No coach is prepared, fully prepared, especially a coach who has never been to this level before, but I feel kind of prepared. I’ve got motivation, I’ve got hope and all that will help me.”
Earlier in the day thousands of fans turned out to watch Zidane take charge of his first training session held at the Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium at Madrid’s training complex.
The club traditionally opens its doors to the first practice session of the year and it estimated that 6,000 supporters turned up for the occasion.
Zidane’s first game proper will be on Saturday at home against Deportivo La Coruna in the Spanish league. Real are third in the table, four points behind the leaders Atlético Madrid and two behind Barcelona.
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