New Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane admits Gareth Bale has been left upset by the sacking of his predecessor as head coach, Rafael Benitez, but has vowed to win over the Wales star.
Former Liverpool and Chelsea manager Benitez was axed on Monday after just half a season in charge, prompting increased speculation that Bale would seek a move back to the Premier League.
But World Cup-winning former France captain Zidane, who has set himself the target of leading Real to the Champions League despite his lack of experience, has reassured the £85m winger.
“He is a phenomenal player,” said Zidane. “I am going to give him all the support and love he needs to play well. I understand he might be sad about Rafa’s sacking because he was an important coach to him, but I will treat him just as well as Rafael did.”
The 44-year-old’s managerial experience is limited to 18 months in charge of Real’s B team, Castilla, in Spain's third division but Zidane hopes to make the club kings of Europe – as he once did as a player.
“To win is essential at this club,” he added. “The target always is to win the Champions League and I will try to make that possible.”
Zidane rejected comparisons with Pep Guardiola, football’s most sought-after technician, who coached his way through the ranks at Barcelona before leading them, and now Bayern Munich, to huge success.
“Guardiola is Guardiola,” he said of the Spaniard, who is set to move to tEngland next season. “I will do my best. I will not compare myself with anyone. I never did it as a player and I won’t do it now.”