Zinedine Zidane downplayed the importance of being crowned the best coach in the world, but there is no hiding the Real Madrid manager’s determination to finally win the Copa del Rey.
After enjoying a glittering playing career, the former France midfielder could scarcely have wished for a better start to life at elite-level management.
Zidane led Real to Champions League glory within months of taking the reins and his first full season in charge ended with the European crown once again.
That success complemented the LaLiga, Super Cup and Club World Cup crowns in 2016-17 – success that this week saw the 45-year-old named coach of the year at the FIFA awards.
“I don’t know who the best coach in the world is,” Zidane said, as reported by the club’s official website.
“I can say that I accept the award and it’s the fruit of the work we’ve done so far, with what we won. I’m happy.
“But I don’t think I’m the best coach in the world. If in 10 years I keep winning, maybe I’ll say that I am, but not at the moment.
“I’m only thinking about this year. I’m interested about the day-to-day work because everything can change quickly. I’ve got experience as a player and I know how things work.
“No euphoria, a lot of work and thinking about working day to day, and more so at this club. I don’t think about the future, only this season.”
While currently sat five points behind LaLiga leaders Barcelona in third, Zidane already has some silverware under his belt this term having won the Supercopa de Espana and Super Cup.
However, there remains one big hole in his medal-laden CV from his days as player and manager with Madrid: the Copa del Rey.
Zidane’s men kick-off the competition against third-tier Fuenlabrada on Thursday, with the first leg being held at Estadio Fernando Torres – named after the Atletico Madrid striker.
“Winning the cup isn’t something personal, it’s a team thing,” Zidane said.
“We’re excited to play in it, as we like to play in every competition.
“I don’t consider it a minor trophy, for me it’s one of the trophies that we can win and that’s our intention.
“Our ambition is to win it because we can. We want to give everything and put in a good performance tomorrow.”
Fuenlabrada counterpart Antonio Calderon is under no illusion of the challenge his side face but is looking forward to it nonetheless.
“We respect all the rivals and we try not to be comfortable,” the boss of the Segunda Division B side said.
“Tomorrow we will see a Fuenlabrada who will try to make it difficult things for Madrid so that they do not have the ball.
“There will be phases of the game in which we have to be in our area, but when we have the ball we have our way of playing and we will be faithful to it. We are always going to have the intention.”