'Real Madrid is home for Zidane' - Makelele hails Cristiano Ronaldo tamer

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The former Blancos midfielder has hailed his former team-mate’s management career as he masterminds two Champions League titles in two years


EXCLUSIVE

Zinedine Zidane's huge impact since taking over at Real Madrid is no surprise to former team-mate Claude Makelele, who has lauded the connection he makes with his star players.

Zidane confirmed he'd be extending his Santiago Bernabeu contract until 2020 on Saturday following Real Madrid becoming the first team to win back-to-back Champions League titles since the competition was revamped in 1992.

Madrid 5/1 to win Champions League

From getting the very best out of Cristiano Ronaldo to adjusting tactics to best suit the Blancos, Makelele can’t help but admire the work done by Zidane in Spain.

“Everybody says [his achievements] are crazy. No, he is a good manager!” Makelele, who partnered Zidane in Real and France's midfield during his playing days, told Goal.

“He understands football, he understands the players. He puts himself at the same level as them.

"He tells them that I can’t teach you [to be like me], just tactically you need to do this, do this, do this. And, of course, the players understand him.

Cristiano Ronaldo Zinedine Zidane Real Madrid

“Also he gives Ronaldo the freedom to play. He says you have quality; just tactically, Zinedine cleans up some things.

“Sometimes you don’t get the result but that’s normal. Football is not just winning all the time. The players give him everything, nobody is thinking about himself.

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“It is not easy [to manage Real Madrid] but it is home for him. It is leadership.”

Makelele is now assistant manager for Premier League side Swansea City under head coach Paul Clement, who left his role as Real Madrid assistant coach in 2015 when Carlo Ancelotti was sacked.

Zinedine Zidane Thierry Henry Claude Makelele

Makelele still talks to Zidane on a semi-regular basis and he admits to calling him up once or twice to talk about football.

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“Of course, he is my friend,” the Frenchman added. "We had a lot of fun together when we were playing together in Madrid and the national team.

"He is a good guy. I can’t talk to him everyday of course but friends are like this. He is a very good friend of mine.”

Real Madrid, who won the UEFA Super Cup over Manchester United on Tuesday, are preparing for a Spanish Supercopa against Barcelona on Sunday.

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