Zinedine Zidane has admitted that perhaps no player is worth the price that Real Madrid paid out for Gareth Bale this summer.
Los Blancos have paid a fee of between €90m and a world record €100m to Tottenham to sign the Welshman, but for the club’s former midfielder and current assistant Coach, it is an amount that is hard to take in.
“Is Bale worth that amount? This question will have to be asked in a year,” considered Zidane to Canal +. The Frenchman held the world record transfer fee for several years, after 2001’s move to Madrid for €75m.
“Ten years ago, I recognised that I was not worth €75m. Nowadays I have a tendency to say the same, that no player is worth that.
“But two clubs agree a price without being forced to. That’s football, unfortunately. One cannot understand. It is incomprehensible with all that is going on today.”
The 41-year-old reflected on how Bale may face up to the expectation the price brings with it.
“Bale understands the impact of his arrival. He comes to the best club in the world, and does so with this huge transfer price.
“I have experienced this and for three months it was very complicated. I even considered whether it was best to leave. Then, if you focus on what happens on the field, things flow more naturally.
“My role will be to tell him to play as he knows and not to pressurise himself too much. He has incredible potential and is a player who has proven over the last three years to be the best out there.
“He also has room for improvement, he is only 24 and I think he can bring much to Madrid.”
Zidane returned to Madrid this summer to take an assistant’s position in the coaching team under Carlo Ancelotti, even as the Italian’s regular assistant Paul Clement was on board.
“I spoke to Ancelotti before the season and when he had his team and his assistant Coach. We had to talk about the role that I was going to have. We made it clear.
“His assistant would look at technical aspects and strategy, while I would work more with the players. I want to keep learning as much as I can.
“Carlo remains the same from the two years I spent with him at Juventus. A person who is open to discussion and who is very charismatic.”
Speaking to French media, Zidane was asked of the difficulties Karim Benzema was having with the national team, compared to his usual form with Madrid.
“There is only one Benzema. He is a player that has not scored for France for a while. What I hope to see is the Benzema that we all want - to get the most out of him and show how talented he is. He can give much to Madrid and France.”
The former Ballon d’Or winner was asked who he would give the annual prize to this year.
“If I had two Ballon d’Ors then I would give one to Cristiano and one to Ribery. They both deserve one and for the other it is a pity that there is only one.”