Vicente del Bosque has sympathised with Zinedine Zidane over perceptions that he is a lucky coach and praised the Real Madrid boss’ leadership qualities.
Following a decorated playing career at Santiago Bernabeu and a long apprenticeship coaching Madrid’s youth teams, Del Bosque twice won LaLiga and the Champions League in an excellent four-year spell as head coach.
He went on to claim World Cup and European Championship glory in charge of Spain and retired after his defending champions bowed out at the last-16 stage of Euro 2016.
Enjoying life after football to the extent that he prefers to see matches on the television as opposed to attending stadiums, Del Bosque watched on with admiration as Zidane’s Madrid established themselves at the top of LaLiga this season with a club-record unbeaten run, while adding the UEFA Super Cup and Club World Cup titles to last season’s memorable Champions League triumph over Atletico Madrid.
Madrid’s football under the former Ballon d’Or winner has often tended towards functional rather than flashy, leading to similar questions over Zidane’s ability in the dugout to those Del Bosque was once forced to bat away.
“We already know that there are those who don’t appreciate the work of people based on the belief that they’re very lucky,” the 66-year-old told El Confidencial.
“That’s quite some value Zidane will have after this whole run of [unbeaten] games and the three international titles he’s won. Zizou has a group of players behind him that follow him like a leader.
“As much as they devalue him, like they did with me with contempt of this kind, he’s a man that has shown his influence over the squad.
“I do not know [if Zidane will stay as coach for many seasons], but everything will depend on the results and confidence that the president has placed in him.
“I am one of those who thinks, for the person who holds the position of coach, that the first ones that have to be to on his side are the players and secondly those that command the club.”
In a wide-ranging interview, Del Bosque revealed he recently rejected an approach from an unnamed club in the cash-rich Chinese Super League.
“Yes, yes, it is true,” he said. “But I did not let the person who called me finish making the proposal, although I thanked them for remembering me.
“I’ve never moved for money. The happiest sporting stage of my life was when I was coach and director of the lower categories of Madrid, along with Luis Molowny and other fabulous people.
“At that time, even if we only earned enough to live, it was enriching in every way.”