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Dublin: 12 °C Sunday 24 May, 2020

Zinedine Zidane to lead Real Madrid 'project'

The French icon is the La Liga heavyweights’ new sporting director, the club say.

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FORMER REAL MADRID midfielder Zinedine Zidane has been confirmed as the club’s new sporting director by president Florentino Perez.

Zidane was brought to the club for a world-record fee in 2001 during Perez’s first period as president and the 66-year-old wants him to be more involved in first-team affairs after Jose Mourinho’s departure. The Frenchman, who made 155 appearances in his five years at the Bernabeu scoring 38 goals, will be involved in hiring Mourinho’s successor and has been backed to become coach in the future by Perez.

“We do not know who will be the coach,” he told Cadena SER. “But we want this sports project to be led by Zidane. I did not think Zidane would like to be a coach, but in recent years he has decided to be.

“I would like a person like him, with his category and his knowledge to coach someday. For now, when we choose the coach, the coach and Zidane analyse the team to give them a qualitative leap. We want to go back to being the best. We want to be the best in the world and the best in Spain.”

The president is also keen to hold onto to prized asset Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese has attacker enjoyed a fantastic season, scoring 34 league goals in as many games, but claimed he was “sad” at the club early in the campaign.

However, Perez is desperate to retain Ronaldo’s services and hinted that the 28-year-old, who has been linked with moves to Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United, could be offered a huge new deal to tempt him to stay.

“Cristiano said in the summer he was sad, and I told him that we will do our best to make him happy because for us he is the best player in the world,” Perez added. “I think Cristiano is the best in the world, we want to build the future Madrid on his figure, and I would like Cristiano to be the best paid player in the world .”

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