sport

Zidane to coach Real B team

Zinedine Zidane has taken his first steps into management, taking charge of Real Madrid Castilla as of next season.

The former Madrid midfielder spent last season as one of Carlo Ancelotti's assistant coaches and proved to be a lucky charm, as the club lifted the Champions League for the first time since 2002, when the Frenchman's sensational volley against Bayer Leverkusen delivered the trophy.

Now he has been given the reins of Real's reserve team, who last season were relegated to Spain's third division.

A statement on Real Madrid's website said: "Zinedine Zidane will manage Castilla next season. Zizou, who was Carlo Ancelotti's first squad assistant coach this year, will start a new stage of his career at Real Madrid. Zidane will be joined by youth coach Santiago Sanchez and has already started working on future plans for the reserve team squad."

Zidane has been given just a one-year contract, an indication that he has loftier ambitions in management, but his first task is to win promotion with Castilla, whose gilded list of former players includes Juan Mata, Roberto Soldado, Alvaro Negredo and Samuel Eto'o.

Zidane's appointment will inevitably draw comparisons with Pep Guardiola's first steps into coaching.

The current Bayern Munich boss cut his teeth with Barcelona's B side, earning promotion from Spain's fourth tier into the Segunda B, before taking charge of the first team the following season and winning an unprecedented treble.

Zidane joined Real in 2001 from Juventus for a then transfer record of 50 million, winning the Champions League and the Primera Division title in his first two seasons in the Spanish capital, eventually retiring from football after the 2006 World Cup.