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 Posted by ESPN Staff
May 14, 2006

Zidane: Player divisions were cause of Real failure

MADRID, May 14 (Reuters) - Zinedine Zidane says Florentino Perez's division of the Real Madrid squad into separate classes depending on the importance of the players had devastating consequences for morale at club.

The former Real Madrid president famously claimed that his recruitment policy at the club was based on 'Zidanes or Pavons', supplementing big-name players like the Frenchman with products from the youth team such as centre-back Francisco Pavon.

But Zidane said that such talk and the labelling of some players such as himself, Ronaldo and David Beckham as 'Galacticos' had created severe divisions in the dressing room.

'I think it was a shame that people talked about Zidanes and Pavons because it's clear that it divided the team,' the midfielder told Spanish television station Antena 3.

'That was very bad for the team and the people who talked about 'Galacticos' and all that created big problems for us.'

Zidane also said that the collection of big egos created further problems for the team. 'The problem is that there were a lot of very strong personalities in the dressing room and that damaged communication. We didn't talk straight to each other as people thought they might upset each other.'

Zidane added he was deeply disappointed by the team's failure to win a major trophy in the last three seasons, the club's worst run of form in over 50 years.

'We got things wrong and what hurts me most is that we haven't won a trophy,' he said. 'It's difficult to win all five trophies that are at stake but not winning a single one is what really hurts.

'Maybe it's unfair for me to retire without winning anything but it was better to leave.'

Zidane will play his last match for Real when they travel to Sevilla on Tuesday, a game they need to win if they are to make sure of securing the runners-up spot behind Barcelona.

He will then hook up with the French national team for the World Cup.