MADRID: French legend and Real Madrid youth team coach Zinedine Zidane has distanced himself from rumors that he is set to replace the under fire Rafael Benitez as Madrid boss.
Despite being publicly backed by club president Florentino Perez, rumors persist of unrest in the dressing room and that one more defeat in the coming weeks could cost Benitez his job.
Zidane is short on experience, having only ever taken charge of Madrid’s feeder team Castilla, but would be a popular choice among the fans given his hero status after scoring a sensational winning goal in the 2002 Champions League final.
“I am aware (of the speculation), but at the same time I am calm. All I am thinking about and doing is for Castilla,” he said after a 1-1 draw against Talavera de la Reina on Saturday that left Castilla in the Second Division B playoff places.
“I have to say to you all that I support Benitez, what he is doing and I think he is the person that has to be with the first team.
“The shame is, and it is always the same at this club, that when you lose a game anything can happen.”
Benitez said earlier in the day that he had a good working relationship with Zidane as he tried to quell speculation surrounding his future.
And when quizzed on his lack of managerial experience, Zidane insisted his job for the rest of the season was to get Castilla back up to the second tier of Spanish football.
“At the moment what I am prepared for is to coach Castilla for the rest of the year,” he added.
“What is important is that the first team wins all the time and I am behind the coach, the team and everyone at Real Madrid.
“Personally what I have to do is work with my team and only think about that.”