Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 27th 2016 Contents A55
Friday, May 27, 2016 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
couldn t have asked for much
more after only five months as
Real Madrid s head coach. The
former France great has a chance
to end the season celebrating the
Champions League title, just like
he did 14 years ago as a player for
the Spanish powerhouse.
Victory tomorrow against Atleti-
co Madrid would cap a superb start
to Zidane s head-coaching career,
joining Miguel Munoz, Giovanni
Trapattoni, Johan Cruyff, Carlo
Ancelotti, Frank Rijkaard and Pep
Guardiola as the only men to have
won the European tournament
both as a coach and a player.
Zidane would also become one
of the few coaches to win European
soccer s most important club com-
petition in his first job as a head
coach, along with seven other men,
including Guus Hiddink, Vicente
del Bosque and Guardiola.
Zidane scored with a remarkable
left-foot volley on the edge of the
area to give Madrid its ninth title
in the 2002 final against Bayer Lev-
erkusen. He also won the tourna-
ment as an assistant coach to
Ancelotti two years ago--- against
"I m lucky to be here and share
these moments with the players
and fans. I m very happy," the 43-
year-old Zidane said. "I m thinking
final with this great club."
Zidane led Madrid to the final
in Milan after taking over a club
Daniel Sturridge has picked up anoth-
er injury, potentially affecting his
chances of being selected for the Euro-
England manager Roy Hodgson said
yesterday that Sturridge has a calf injury
that has prevented him from training
and is a doubt to play in the warmup
match against Australia today. Hodgson
has until Tuesday to finalize his 23-
man squad for the tournament in
England s first game at Euro 2016 is
against Russia on June 11 in Group B.
Sturridge has been beset by injury
problems in recent years. His latest
injury increases the possibility of 18-
year-old Manchester United striker
Marcus Rashford s fairytale season being
extended to include the Euros.
Hodgson said yesterday that Rashford
will make his debut against Australia
in Sunderland---as a starter if Sturridge
isn t fit. Rashford only made his United
debut in February.
"It s pretty obvious Rashford is going
to play a serious part in the game," said
Hodgson, who is resting strikers Harry
Kane and Jamie Vardy.
"I m happy with that, I m content
he ll handle the situation. I would have
preferred, I suppose, to have avoided
all the headlines that will come with
a debut at such a young age and after
such a meteoric rise. At the moment,
it looks like he will be starting."
Hodgson had previously said he
would announce his 23-man squad
soon after the Australia game, but he
will now "leave it as long as I possibly
deliberated, tapped his fingers on the
desk in front of him and let out a
The Sweden striker had just been
asked if he had received an offer to join
Manchester United and his actions
spoke as much as his words.
"Let s see what happens," he said,
Ibrahimovic is looking for a team for
next season after leaving Paris Saint-
Germain and has been heavily linked
with United, which is set to hire Jose
Mourinho as its new manager. Mour-
inho and Ibrahimovic got on well during
their time together at Inter Milan.
He said he has received "concrete
offers" from clubs in England, Italy and
other countries---but didn t mention
any team by name.
"I have taken my decision," Ibrahi-
movic said after a training session with
the Swedish national team. He didn t
Asked if Mourinho was the right man
for United, Ibrahimovic said: "I think
it s a great move. If you want action,
you bring Mourinho. I believe he is the
man to bring them back to the top, yes.
Wherever he went, he won. He knows
what he is doing. If you want to win,
you bring Mourinho."
Ibrahimovic added that he is in reg-
ular contact with the Portuguese coach.
Ibrahimovic joined PSG from AC
Milan in 2012. Before that he was in
Barcelona on loan in 2010 and the move
was made permanent the following
year. He also spent three seasons at
Inter and two at Juventus.
Ibrahimovic also won the Dutch
league twice with Ajax and the Spanish
title with Barcelona before lifting anoth-
er Serie A trophy with Milan.
A serial winner of trophies, like
Mourinho, Ibrahimovic said that, at 34,
he is "only warming up."
"I have proved age is just a number,"
he said. "Everything is in your head.
Whatever you want to do, you will do
it. It s a mind game. If I want to make
it, I ll make it. If I want to do it, I ll do
it. I m not worried at all."
Real Madrid's head coach
Zinedine Zidane listens to a
question during a news
conference at the team's
Valdebebas training ground
in Madrid. AP PHOTO
Zidane feels 'lucky' to be back in CL final
in crisis under coach Rafa Benitez. After
an up-and-down start, he put the team
back on track and it finished the season
by winning 15 of its last 17 matches.
The setbacks were a 2-0 loss to Wolfs-
burg in the first leg of the Champions
League quarterfinals and a 0-0 draw
against Manchester City in the first leg
of the tournament s semifinals.
Madrid won its last 12 Spanish league
matches to finish only one point behind
"After he arrived, everybody could
see that the team improved," Madrid
midfielder Toni Kroos said. "We didn t
have a good first half of the season but
we improved a lot with him."
A loss on Saturday would leave
Madrid without a title this season,
although Zidane s first spell as head
coach would not likely be defined by
"Failure would be if we didn t give
everything," said Zidane, who was
coaching Madrid s "B team in the third
division before replacing Benitez in Jan-
uary. "We know that in a final the most
important thing is to prepare well and
anything can happen. We must prepare
as always and see what happens on
As a player, Zidane was used to the
big stage after leading France to the
World Cup title in 1998 and the Euro-
pean Championship title in 2000. He
was named the world s best player of
the year three times.
"There s always pressure at Real
Madrid," he said. "It s part of the job
had pressure. I like it. I ve got a lot to
learn but the desire I ve got to learn is
tremendous. I m going to improve, obvi-
ously, but there s still a long way to go
until I m an important coach."
Despite badly wanting to win the
final in Milan, Zidane said he wouldn t
exchange the trophies he won as a player
for the title as a coach on Saturday.
"I wouldn t exchange them," he said.
"I ve won what I ve won. Hopefully
what s to come will be better. We are
all going to try to win together on Sat-
Ibrahimovic hints at Man United
Rashford set for England debut
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