Cannavaro: Zidane beat me to Real Madrid assistant role

The former Los Blancos defender feels president Florentino Perez was the man who opted to hire the French midfielder over him for the role at the Santiago Bernabeu

Fabio Cannavaro says he narrowly lost out on the Real Madrid assistant coach job to Zinedine Zidane. 

Zidane spent one year as Carlo Ancelotti's assistant at the Santiago Bernabeu before taking over as head coach of the club's Castilla team.

And Cannavaro has revealed that he was being considered for the role, too, and feels president Florentino Perez opted for the iconic French midfielder.

"I think it was Florentino who decided to choose Zidane and not me," he told Cadena Ser, adding that it is too early to judge the work of current coach Rafael Benitez.

"We can only say that Benitez is a good coach for Madrid at the end of the season if he wins titles. We all know the club culture and mentality of the fans."

Cannavaro also spoke of his admiration for Lionel Messi, saying he could tell he would reach immense heights the first time he ever saw him.

"I remember Messi's first game, in a friendly against Juventus, he already killed us, you could tell he would be a phenomenon. 

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"Fabio Capello wanted him for Juventus, but the club refused to let him leave. Capello asked me if I saw how good he was, I said: 'Coach, this will be one of the best players ever'."

The ex-Madrid defender is also a fan of Andres Iniesta and Luis Suarez, insisting the former should have won the Ballon d'Or in his career.

"Iniesta deserved to win the Ballon d'Or. To win it, you have to be lucky that the attackers have not done so well. If Messi and Ronaldo score 50 or 60 goals, they will always give it to them.

"All people look at Messi and Neymar, but Suarez is impressive. He makes a difference, because he is a 'killer' that never fails front of goal. Suarez will kill you and I love that."