Benitez was dismissed on Monday following an ill-fated seven months in charge, and Zidane was handed the reins, prompting immediate comparisons with former Barcelona boss Guardiola, per MailOnline's Pete Jenson.
However, despite the obvious similarities between their career trajectories—from star player to youth-team coach and then to manager—the Frenchman said he could not be compared to the Bayern Munich boss, per Ed Malyon in the Mirror:
You can’t compare me with Guardiola. I’ll try to do the best possible job but Guardiola is a wonderful coach and what he is doing is amazing. But I won’t compare myself, I never did that as a player and won’t do it as a coach. I’m going to do everything possible so that me and this team work together well. Winning is key at this club.
On Bale, Zidane swiftly moved to quash any concerns about his reaction to Benitez's departure, per Bleacher Report UK:
Zidane also paid tribute to his predecessor, insisting that the Spaniard deserves recognition for the work he did at the club, per La Liga writer Dermot Corrigan:
Zidane: "There is change today, but I believe you must respect and think the work Rafa Benitez did was very good. I wish him luck."— Dermot Corrigan (@dermotmcorrigan) January 5, 2016
Unlike Benitez—a UEFA Champions League, Europa League and two-time La Liga winner—Zidane, 43, takes up the role at Real with no experience of managing at the highest level.
Since retiring from a glittering playing career, he has acted as assistant coach to Carlo Ancelotti during Los Blancos' Champions League and Copa del Rey-winning 2013-14 season and has taken charge of the Real Madrid Castilla side.
Zidane insisted that he will introduce his own style at Madrid while also taking on board everything he has learned from previous coaches, per Malyon:
It’s true I knew Mourinho and Ancelotti and had many coaches as a player and I think I took something from each of them. They were experienced coaches so it was important to learn from them.
I need to be a coach my way. Each of them would say that you should do the thing that’s right for your team and your players, not what another coach is doing... I have to be Zidane.
Zinedine Zidane: "My first words to the players have been important but simple. Everyone has an important role to play" #RealMadrid— footballespana (@footballespana_) January 5, 2016
There is clearly no lack of ambition from Zidane, who stated his aim this season was to win both the remaining trophies for which Real are still in contention—La Liga and the Champions League—per Corrigan:
Zidane "To win everything, that is the objective for us. We have 2 trophies to play for. And we will try to win them both at end of season."— Dermot Corrigan (@dermotmcorrigan) January 5, 2016
That will be some challenge given the competition in the Champions League and the fact that Los Blancos are currently four points off the top in La Liga.
His first match as manager will be at the Bernabeu on Saturday against Deportivo La Coruna, and Zidane indicated he would be sticking with the front three of Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema that has worked so well in the past, per Corrigan:
Zidane asked if he would stick with BBC as other coaches have: “Yes, I will play with the three attackers. That is the idea. Of course.”— Dermot Corrigan (@dermotmcorrigan) January 5, 2016
The Real hierarchy and fans will likely have plenty of patience with Zidane given his illustrious history at the club as a player.
He is undoubtedly aware of the challenge he faces, though, and will have some work to do to achieve the aims he set out for his team on Tuesday.