Legendary Italian football manager Marcello Lippi has shared his thoughts on Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane and Inter manager Antonio Conte ahead of this evening’s match between Zidane and Conte’s sides in the Champions League group stage.
Lippi managed both Zidane and Conte when they were players at Juventus and he started an interview with Italian daily newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport by sharing what both of them were like.
“They were two leaders. Zizou was the technical leader, everyone gave him the ball because he solved any situation. Antonio was a leader when it came to character, he drove everyone on in training and in competition,” he said.
“As managers they reflect how they were as players. Zizou had great ability, he communicated without speaking much. A gesture was enough. It seems to me that he is the same on the bench.
“Antonio was generous and gave everything in every situation. Even in training. If someone was in danger of ‘relaxing,’ he was the first to shout: ‘Hey, everyone runs here!’.”
He then spoke further on Conte and revealed an anecdote about the former Juventus and Italian national team player from his days as a player at Juventus.
“He was like a battery that charges itself and gives energy to the others. He was the captain, the fans dedicated songs to him, he got injured.
“He had to stay out for a long time. In the same period Del Piero had some problems. One evening, while talking to Peruzzi, an idea came up, what if we gave him the captains armband?
“Suddenly empowered, Ale became great and when Antonio recovered from his injury I explained to him, ‘I didn’t take the band off him, I just helped Ale, now I’d leave it to him,’ and he said said ‘No problem’ but he was sorry and it was clear.”
Lippi, who last managed the Chinese national team, then went on to share his thoughts on tonight’s match between the sides, neither of whom have performed as they were expected to in the competition.
“In this particular moment, neither Inter nor Real are at their best. Zizou has recovered in La Liga by winning the Clasico, Antonio’s Inter are playing well, his problem mostly has to do with results.
“In the summer the Lukaku-Lautaro duo did extraordinary things and without Lukaku the Argentine suffers a bit. I didn’t understand how Real could lose in that way with Shakhtar, maybe because there wasn’t Ramos, maybe there was too much turnover. This risks being a play-off and Zizou won’t be angry, but I hope an Italian will win.”
Real Madrid versus Inter is scheduled to kick off at 21:00 local time at the Alfredo Di Stefano stadium, which is being used as Real Madrid’s stadium due to refurbishment work being carried out on the Santiago Bernabeu.