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Zinedine Zidane: ‘Pep Guardiola has proven he is the best’

Zinedine Zidane: ‘Pep Guardiola has proven he is the best’

Former Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane believes that Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola is the best coach in world football.

After retiring as a player in 2006, Guardiola stepped into management two years later with boyhood club Barcelona, before taking the reins at Bayern Munich and Man City.

While implementing a tiki-taka philosophy, the Spaniard won 14 trophies during his four-year spell in charge at Camp Nou, including three La Liga titles and two Champions Leagues.

Guardiola then took a year-long sabbatical before joining German giants Bayern in 2013, where he won seven pieces of silverware across a three-year period, including three Bundesliga titles.

The 51-year-old has since enjoyed a trophy-laden six-and-a-half-year spell with Man City, winning four Premier League titles, four EFL Cups, one FA Cup and two Community Shields.

© Reuters

Guardiola’s long-term future at the Etihad Stadium had been called into question earlier this season, as his contract was due to expire in the summer.

However, the Citizens announced on Wednesday that the Catalan boss has put pen to paper on a new two-year extension, keeping him at the club until the summer of 2025.

“I am happy and comfortable here. I have everything I need to do my job as best as possible,” Guardiola told the club’s official website. “I know the next chapter of this club will be amazing for the next decade. It happened over the last ten years, and it will happen in the next ten years because this club is so stable.

“From day one I felt something special being here. I cannot be in a better place. I still have the feeling there is more we can achieve together and that is why I want to stay and continue fighting for trophies.”

Guardiola has received plaudits from a plethora of established figures in the football world, and World Cup winner Zidane is one of the latest high-profile names to heap praise on the City boss.

Zinedine Zidane pictured at the Ballon d'Or awards in October 2022© Reuters

“He always proved that he is the best. First with Barcelona, then with [Bayern] Munich, now with Manchester City,” Zidane said via @ManCity.

“That’s my opinion. Some people can think other coaches are better but for me, he is the best.”

Zidane – a three-time Champions League winner as manager of Real Madrid – has only come up against Guardiola twice in his coaching career, losing over two legs 4-2 on aggregate in the last 16 of the 2019-20 Champions League.

The 50-year-old Frenchman is currently out of work after leaving Los Blancos at the end of the 2020-21 campaign, but he has frequently been linked with a number of top managerial vacancies.

Paris Saint-Germain were rumoured to have expressed an interest in Zidane following the dismissal of Mauricio Pochettino over the summer, but the Frenchman’s entourage denied such speculation, with the Ligue 1 champions eventually appointing Christophe Galtier as their new boss.

A recent report claims that Zidane has now reached an agreement with the France national team to replace Didier Deschamps after the 2022 World Cup, with the formalities of the deal “practically complete” following several meetings.

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