MADRID (Reuters) – Real Madrid’s players feel like they have won a trophy following Zinedine Zidane’s return to the club after a troubling 10-month spell in the wake his departure, defender Alvaro Odriozola said.
Zidane resigned as Madrid coach last May after winning a third consecutive Champions League title, but the Frenchman made a remarkable comeback earlier this month when Santiago Solari was sacked.
That was less than five months after Julen Lopetegui was also removed from the role due to disappointing results.
The European champions, who were knocked out of this year’s Champions League in the last 16 by Ajax Amsterdam after a chastening 4-1 defeat, enjoyed a therapeutic 2-0 win over Celta Vigo in Zidane’s first game back in charge.
They will be looking to extend the positive feeling his return has brought when they host Huesca on Sunday.
“Zidane’s return has reignited the hopes of supporters and for us it’s practically like winning a trophy, we are very happy,” Odriozola said in an interview with website La Galerna.
“We have talked about what he likes about my game and about my weak points, ‘Zizou’ always tells you the truth and players appreciate sincerity like that.”
Madrid are 12 points behind runaway La Liga leaders Barcelona and have no realistic prospect of winning a trophy this season after they were also eliminated in the Copa del Rey semi-finals by Barca.
“It has been a rollercoaster of a season but the important thing is to be self critical and see it as an apprenticeship,” added Spain international Odriozola, who joined Madrid last July from Real Sociedad.
“You learn a lot in this club, a season at Madrid feels like three anywhere else, weeks feel like months.”
(Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Toby Davis)