Football

Zidane and Ancelotti set for Champions League reunion

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane will be reunited with his former mentor and kindred spirit Carlo Ancelotti when the Spanish club visit Bayern Munich for their Champions League quarter-final first leg tomorrow morning (Singapore time).

Zizou played under Ancelotti at Juventus, and became one of his assistants when the Italian took the top job at Real in 2013.

In their one season together in the dugout, they ended the club's 12-year drought in Europe's elite competition by beating Atletico Madrid in the final to lift a coveted 10th European Cup, after which Zidane took charge of the reserve team.

Ancelotti, though, was given a brutal reminder of the short lifespan of Real coaches when he was sacked a year later.

In January last year, Zidane replaced Rafa Benitez in the Real hot seat and won the Champions League a little more than four months later.

Even though Real now sit three points clear at the top of La Liga with a game in hand, the Frenchman has been criticised in some quarters of the Spanish media for Real's stale style of play, and his tactical nous was also questioned after a 1-1 draw with Atletico on Saturday.

Zidane is aware of how things are run at the club, saying last Friday: "I know what it's like to coach Real Madrid, for better or worse and I'm prepared for everything."

He, however, has the backing of midfielder Toni Kroos, who told the club's official website: "He has had a huge impact here, he brought positivity when he arrived and took us in a new direction."

Captain Sergio Ramos declared his admiration for the coach, but warned Zidane could meet a similar fate to Ancelotti if Real do not end the season with silverware.

"I like Zidane for the results he has got and for how he manages the dressing room," he said.

"But, in football, what counts are results and trophies." - REUTERS

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