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Football Reporting

Barcelona

‘Magnificent’ Zidane has earned right to remain at Real Madrid, says Casillas



The Frenchman is under pressure after one win in his last five games, but the club’s former shotstopper believes he deserves to stay in his post

Zinedine Zidane’s myriad of achievements has more than earned him the chance to turn things around at Real Madrid, says Iker Casillas, who hailed the the manager as a “magnificent coach.”

The Frenchman, who is in his second spell at the helm of Los Blancos, has seen his future called into question after just one win in his last five games across all competitions.

Madrid have won just half of their 10 matches in La Liga to date this term, while their hopes for knockout Champions League football – traditionally a foregone conclusion at Santiago Bernabeu – hang in the balance.

A shock 2-0 defeat to Shakhtar Donetsk has left Madrid third in Group B with one game to go, meaning they must beat Borussia Monchengladbach to progress to the last-16.

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Zidane guided Madrid to three successive Champions League titles in his first stint in charge and won a second league title last term.

Amid growing rumours the 48-year-old is close to being sacked by president Florentino Perez, Casillas believes his former team-mate has done enough to warrant more trust.

“Zizou is a magnificent coach, a good friend and will do everything possible to have Madrid as high up as possible,” he told AS .

“You cannot live in the past, but he has earned the right for trust.”

Sergio Ramos is another who faces an uncertain period in the Spanish capital, with the long-serving defender’s contract due to expire at the end of the season.

Paris Saint-Germain are reported to have offered Ramos a big-money contract, but Casillas is hopeful Madrid’s captain will stay put.

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“Sergio is an emblem of Real Madrid and it is best if he is in Madrid,” he said.

Goalkeeping great Casillas announced his retirement in August, having not played a game since suffering a heart attack in training with Porto on May 1 last year.

He has previously talked up the prospect of returning to Madrid, the club he made 725 appearances for after emerging through their youth ranks, in an advisory role.

Speaking upon picking up an award for his sporting achievements, Casillas reiterated he considers Madrid to be his “home”.

“This is an award for my whole career, for many years,” he said. “Along that path I have to thank many people that I had with me, not forgetting my coaches, all my team-mates, the sacrifice of my parents and the clubs I have had.

“Real Madrid, which is my home and the club that gave me another opportunity to discover another way of life, and also Porto and the national team.”

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