You are currently viewing “Zidane coaches like he played the game” – Marcello Lippi previews Real vs Inter
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Later today, Zinedine Zidane and Antonio Conte go head-to-head as Real Madrid host Inter Milan in the UEFA Champions League. Two men who know eachother well from their time as teammates at Juventus, are also two men of contrasting styles and philosophies.

One man who knows them both in a professional and personal capacity is Marcello Lippi. The legendary Italian manager coached both Zidane and Conte at Juve, and speaking to La Gazzetta dello Sport, Lippi said: “As technicians, they reflect their ‘footballer selves’. Zizou had a great ability: he communicated without speaking much. A gesture was enough. It seems to me it’s the same on the bench. Antonio was generous and gave everything in every situation. Even in training. If someone tried to ‘relax’, he was the first to shout: ‘Hey, here we all run’…”

Lippi is regarded as one of the finest technicians and is a man who’s ideas inspired many coaches at the top level today. But the 72-year old didn’t envisage Zidane as a coach: “I would not have thought of Zizou. We met during one summer in Ibiza, we had lunch, and when I asked him ‘what will you do?’ he replied: ‘I have not decided, I have so many things on my mind.’ Then one day: ‘I’ll try to be a coach.’ He went to see Real’s training sessions, then the Castilla bench, then Ancelotti’s deputy.”

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This match promises to be a unique occasion, with both coaches expected to face scrutiny if their respective teams fail. For Madrid, failure isn’t an option tonight, because they already sit rock-bottom of the group, and so Lippi knows it’ll be a spectacle to witness: “It’s a special moment. Neither Inter nor Real are at their best. Zizou has recovered in La Liga by winning the Clasico, Antonio is doing well, his problem is more about results. In the summer, the Lukaku-Lautaro partnership did extraordinary things, but without Lukaku, the Argentine suffers a little. I don’t understand how Real lost in that manner against Shakhtar, perhaps there was no Ramos, perhaps too much turnover? There is a risk of this match being a play-off. I hope Zizou doesn’t get mad at me, but I hope the Italian team wins.”

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