Zinedine Zidane Press Conference: Key Takeaways from Real Madrid Unveiling

Rory MarsdenFeatured ColumnistJanuary 5, 2016

Real Madrid's new French coach Zinedine Zidane watches his players during his first training session as coach of Real Madrid at the Alfredo di Stefano stadium in Valdebebas, on the outskirts of Madrid, on January 5, 2016. Real Madrid legend Zinedine Zidane promised to put his 'heart and soul' into managing the Spanish giants after he was sensationally named as coach following Rafael Benitez's unceremonious sacking. AFP PHOTO/ GERARD JULIEN / AFP / GERARD JULIEN        (Photo credit should read GERARD JULIEN/AFP/Getty Images)

Zinedine Zidane has rejected any comparison with Pep Guardiola in his first press conference as Real Madrid manager.

He also made assurances that Gareth Bale would remain a key part of the Real setup following reports that the Welshman was unhappy with the sacking of Rafael Benitez, per Sky Sports.

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 trajectoriesfrom star player to youth-team coach and then to managerthe 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:

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.

The former Juventus star has already taken a training session with his new players and revealed his opening words to them were simple, per Football Espana:

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:

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:

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.