'Zidane won three Champions Leagues - I hope Solari can do that well!' - Panucci

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The Argentine has emulated Zizou in stepping up from Castilla to Madrid's seniors, although recreating his success will be a tough task

Former Real Madrid defender Christian Panucci hopes that new coach Santiago Solari will achieve as much as Zinedine Zidane at the Santiago Bernabeu - while recognising that he faces an uphill task. 

Solari, who played with Zidane in Madrid colours during the club's famous Galactico era, was confirmed officially as Julen Lopetegui's replacement after an impressive run of results as caretaker following his predecessor's sacking. 

The Argentine had no prior experience of coaching at senior level, having worked his way up post-retirement from Madrid's youth divisions to the post of head coach of the Castilla feeder team. 

Zidane also went into the job with some questioning his credentials, but left a coaching legend after three consecutive Champions Leagues. 

Panucci has faith in the new man, although he admits that Zizou may be a hard act to follow. 

"Zidane won three Champions Leagues! When you do that, you must be good. I hope Solari has that, and that he wins as much as Zizou," Panucci, who is now in charge of the Albania national team, explained to Goal

"When a young coach does things right it is good for everybody. It is easier to train Real Madrid than Roma or Albania. 

"He has a great chance to do a good job. He won four games and was given a contract until 2021. He has to take a chance, because it is a great opportunity. 

"We have already seen what Zizou did with a really good squad. It is always easier in that case than if you have average players."

While it is still early in Solari's Madrid tenure, which kicked off officially with a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Eibar in his first match as permanent coach, Panucci likes what he sees - particularly in the Argentine's assertion that the players must show "balls". 

Real Madrid 2018-19

"I am in total agreement. When you lose against Eibar you are the one who has to react," he added, suggesting that Madrid will lack no motivation against Roma in Tuesday's Champions League bout. 

"This is the easiest game for a coach. You are coming off a defeat, so it is easy, with the pride that Madrid and Roma have. The coach does not have to say anything until the game, just pick his team and that's it.

"He does not need to say anything else to the players."

Panucci finds himself in something of a dilemma ahead of Tuesday's clash at Stadio Olimpico. 

The former Italy international represented both Roma and Madrid during a long, trophy-laden career, which also included a memorable spell in the great AC Milan side of the early to mid 1990s. 

For that reason, he finds it hard to pick a winner from the Champions League tie. 

"That is a tough one to answer! Madrid is Madrid, I carry them in my heart with great pride," Panucci said. 

"I have a lot of friends there. What I won with Real Madrid, the 'seventh' [Champions League title], how the fans treated me. 

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"I played eight years at Roma and that is something special too. In any case I see the game differently now: I look at tactics, movement in order to learn something. 

"It is a great game, because both go into it wounded.

"Madrid lost 3-0 against Eibar, and that hurts a lot. And Roma lost to Udinese. Tuesday is not about coaches, it is about players. They have to give the best of themselves."

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