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cx12345678 Mar 2 '18
Zinedine Zidane was the greatest player of his generation but whats he like as a manager? Ahead of the Frenchmans first Clasico in the dugout on Saturday, Sky Sports speak to two players from his old Real Madrid Castilla team to find out… Every now and then at Real Madrid Castilla last season, Zinedine Zidane would cast aside the clipboard and coaching tracksuit to join his players for training. Jason Witten Stitched Jersey . He had just turned 41 when he became their manager in June 2014, but his innate ability with a ball at his feet has never left him.I remember the first time he joined in, former Castilla defender Derik Osede tells Sky Sports. I was impressed. My first thought was that he could still be playing because he still had so much quality. He did little things on the pitch that reminded me of the Zidane of old. It was wonderful, really. The Zidane of old won just about everything in a glittering playing career that started in the Cannes academy and ended at Real Madrid. His trophy haul includes a World Cup, three domestic titles, a Champions League, and a hat-trick of FIFA World Player of the Year awards, and he retired as an all-time great in 2006.Ten years on, Zidane is aiming to scale similar heights in the dugout having taken over from Rafael Benitez at the Bernabeu in January. The Frenchman has been working at the club in various capacities since 2009, but it was last season, while in charge of their second team, when he cut his teeth as a manager.His fast-track route to the top of the profession bears obvious similarities to that of Pep Guardiola, who was appointed by Barcelona having guided their B team to promotion in 2008, but its fair to say Zidane had a rather tougher time in Spains third tier in his only full season in charge. Zinedine Zidane spent five seasons as a player at Real Madrid It was a difficult season for everyone, Sergio Aguza, Castillas former captain, tells Sky Sports.There were lots of changes following our relegation in the previous season. Lots of players left and we were a practically new team. It was a little bit tough and in the end we didnt manage our objective of promotion. El Clasicos greatest player? Ronaldo? Messi? Zidane? Who is the greatest player to have played in El Clasico? Castillas sixth-placed finish fell well short of expectations, but there were mitigating factors for their manager - not least the arrival Norwegian sensation Martin Odegaard in January. Club president Florentino Perez expected the 16-year-old to walk straight into Castillas starting line-up despite training with the first team, and Zidanes destabilised squad soon slid off the top of the table. Zidane takes Real Madrid training following his appointment in January Castilla eventually finished two points below the play-offs, but Zidanes former players remember their time together fondly. To tell you the truth the experience was unforgettable, says central midfielder Aguza, who left Castilla for MK Dons in the summer before returning to Spain with second-division Ponferradina in January. Guillem Balague has the latest on Zinedine Zidanes future as Real Madrid boss All of the players were very happy when he arrived, he adds. To have a manager like Zidane at Real Madrid was a privilege for the players and although we didnt achieve promotion, it was a very good season in terms of learning. He is a manager who likes to be close to his players. He likes to know your opinions, and he likes to know how you are. Sergio Aguza on Zinedine Zidane Derik, a 23-year-old centre-back who now plays for Bolton in the Championship, agrees: We had all watched him as kids and he was an idol for all of us. Castilla is a young team with players who are only 17 or 18 years old, so when you are the manager, you have to educate as well as coach. Last year with Zidane was educational for us.Zidane was a quiet introvert who let his extraordinary talent do most of the talking during his playing days, but to the Castilla squad he was open and approachable - traits which have helped restore morale at senior level in the wake of Benitezs fractious spell in charge. Zidane succeeded Rafael Benitez at the start of January He always had his door open to everyone, says Aguza. My relationship with him was very good. He is a manager who likes to be close to his players. He likes to know your opinions, and he likes to know how you are. I spoke with him almost every day to try to improve things for the team.Derik describes Zidane as a very friendly and very normal person but insists he approaches his job with the same dedication and meticulousness he showed as a player. Apart from the quality he had, the foundation of his success was always hard work, he says. Enrique v Zidane We compare Zinedine Zidane and Luis Enriques El Clásico records He was a very hard-working footballer and as a manager he also dedicates a lot of extra time to the job. Thats why I think he could have kept playing. Hes in great shape for his age. He eats well, he goes to the gym, he likes yoga. He could also be strict with us because he has strong principles, and he likes to incorporate those values with his players - hard work, respect and solidarity.Zidane has worked alongside Jose Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti as well as Benitez since returning to Madrid, so when it came to preparation with Castilla last season, he had learned to leave no stone unturned. Zidane worked as Carlo Ancelottis assistant during his time in charge We would spend a week learning about our opposition, says Aguza. We would study them and try to find ways in which we could win the game and attack their weak points. I think that was good. He gave us everything we needed to know about their strengths and weaknesses.And what about training? The ball was always the focus, says Derik. We used to do a lot of possession-based eight-a-side drills, but we only did Rondos on the days before games. We did a lot of specialized exercises too. Defenders would practice together, midfielders would do positional and passing work and the forwards would practice finishing. We also did a lot of tactical work to ensure we kept our shape. Bale feeling more settled Gareth Bale is enjoying life under Zinedine Zidane at Real Madrid He was still an idol to us, so every time he talked or gave us instructions, we were always very attentive, adds Derik. It could be intimidating as he was one of the greatest players of all-time. He had our complete respect. We never had any problems with him in that sense.He was a good manager and a good person, and during my time with him he taught me a lot. I wish him the best. I know he will do well at Real Madrid and anywhere else in the future. Derik Osede (right) in action during a Real Madrid friendly against Inter Milan This season, Madrids senior players are similarly enamoured. Every piece of advice he gives you is like gold dust and it helps you improve on the pitch, said Luka Modric in February. Under Zizou everyone is much happier, added Sergio Ramos. He represents an example for us.His coaching credentials face their toughest examination yet at the Nou Camp on Saturday, but the Zidane of old knows exactly what it takes to win a Clasico. Zidane the manager now has the chance to follow suit. Watch Barcelona v Real Madrid live on Sky Sports 1 HD from 7pm on Saturday. Or watch for £6.99 without a contract, on NOW TV. Clasico: The key issues Guillem Balague looks at the five key issues which will decide Saturdays Clasico Also See: El Clasicos greatest player? Neymar v Bale Rod Smith Stitched Jersey . The quest begins with what is supposed to be an easy one, although Germany has traditionally been a stubborn opponent to Canadian teams at international tournaments. Robert Newhouse Stitched Jersey .Y. -- The Buffalo Sabres have placed centre Cody Hodgson on injured reserve and recalled two players from their AHL affiliate in Rochester. http:///...ens-stitched-jersey/ .H. -- Matt Kenseth made it 2 for 2 in the Chase, holding off teammate Kyle Busch to win Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. A Brazilian police official has told The Associated Press that American swimmer Ryan Lochte fabricated a story about being robbed at gunpoint in Rio de Janeiro.The official said Lochtes teammates Jack Conger and Gunnar Bentz, who were pulled off a plane going back to the United States late Wednesday, told police that the robbery story had been fabricated.The official, who has direct knowledge of the investigation, spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about an ongoing investigation.He said that around 6 a.m. Sunday, Lochte, along with Conger, Bentz and Jimmy Feigen, stopped at a gas station in Barra da Tijuca, a suburb of Rio where many Olympic venues are located. One of the swimmers tried to open the door of an outside bathroom. It was locked.A few of the swimmers then pushed on the door and broke it. A security guard appeared and confronted them, the official said. The guard was armed with a pistol, the official said, but he never took it out or pointed it at the swimmers.According to the official, the gas station manager then arrived. Using a customer to translate, the manager asked the swimmers to pay for the broken door. After a discussion, they paid him an unknown amount of money and left.Earlier Thursday, authorities told ABC News there is video of the gas station incident.?ABC News also reports that the swimmers offered 100 Brazilian reals ($31) and $20 to compensate for the damag