Zinedine Zidane: My 'positive attitude' changed Real Madrid for the better
Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said his "positive attitude" played a big part in guiding his team to Champions League glory less than six months after taking over the club.
Zidane admitted his team had suffered before winning Saturday's final against Atletico Madrid 5-3 on penalties -- while saying he was looking forward to staying and winning many more trophies.
Sergio Ramos headed Madrid ahead as reward for their early dominance, Antoine Griezmann missed a penalty soon after the break as Atletico fought back and substitute Yannick Carrasco equalised late on to send the game to extra-time.
Both teams had half-chances to score during the added period but it stayed 1-1 and went to penalties, where Atletico right-back Juanfran Torres missed and Madrid galactico Cristiano Ronaldo converted the fifth spot-kick.
Speaking at his postmatch news conference at Milan's San Siro, the Blancos coach said there had been difficult moments over the 120 minutes but his team's hard work had paid off in the end.
"I'm happy with what we have all done," Zidane said. "It is not easy to win the Champions League. There were some moments which were difficult. But I stayed positive, although unfortunately we did not get a second goal.
"So we had to suffer a lot, but that is normal. At the end we had to fight, we worked very hard, and winning the Champions League means a lot for all the players, all the staff, and all the fans."
Ronaldo had not looked fully fit during the 120 minutes, missing a number of excellent chances. Zidane praised the effort the Portuguese put in for the team, while confirming he had accepted a request the superstar had made to take the final penalty in the shootout.
"In the end, Cristiano was there for us -- as the last player," he said. "And he gave us the victory. So he was not injured, he was fine, he worked and ran so much, as they all did.
"He always thinks about the team, always helps his teammates. We talked a bit on the pitch before, just about the position he would take in the shootout, nothing else."
When Carrasco scored, Zidane said he had not thought about Atletico's heartbreak in Lisbon two years ago, when Diego Simeone's side conceded in the 93rd minute and then fell apart in the second period of extra-time.
"I knew it would be 50-50, that did not change," he said. "We suffered until the end. I did not think about Lisbon, as that would be negative. You must always just think positively."
Zidane said this positive attitude, along with a requirement for hard work from the players, was what he had brought to the team since replacing Rafa Benitez as coach in January.
"What I've brought is my positive attitude," he said. "We have quality, but hard work is even more important -- and we've all worked really hard. I knew when I got the chance to coach this squad, that it was possible to achieve something big. And we have achieved that tonight."
Although Zidane is under contract at the Bernabeu until 2018, his future had seemed in jeopardy had the team lost out to their lowly neighbours in this game.
He now looks set to continue in the job next season though, after becoming the seventh person ever to have won the European Cup as both a player and a coach.
"Real Madrid is the club of my life," he said. "Which has been the biggest in everything. It is a great club, and to be part of this club, this project, makes me proud.
"I'm happy to be part of this great club -- I have now won this as a player, as assistant and now head coach -- what can I say. I am so, so happy it has happened.
"I'm very proud to be part of this great club, this great house, truly."