Madrid: France football legend Zinedine Zidane revealed on Tuesday that he would have accepted if Spanish giants Real Madrid had asked him to succeed Italian Carlo Ancelotti as head coach.
Zidane, World Cup winner in 1998, was Ancelotti's assistant in 2013-14, a season which saw the club win the Champions League and the Copa del Rey, but he chose to take charge of their junior side in the 2014-15 season which just finished.
When Ancelotti was sacked following the climax of a poor season season, there were suggestions Zidane could be the Italian's successor but the club ultimately chose experienced Spanish coach Rafa Benitez.
"I would have accepted the task of being Ancelotti's successor. I am a professional and never refuse a challenge," Zidane was quoted as saying by France Football on his 43rd birthday.
"But no, I am not disappointed I was overlooked in favour of Benitez. It was felt by the board that now was not the time for me to take over. These things happen naturally, one should not force them," he said.
"It was not meant to be on this occasion. Madrid president Florentino Perez chose another coach, and that's that."
Zidane also opened up about his first full 12 months as the head coach of a football team during which he attained a deeper understanding of how solitary life at the top can be at times.
"For the first time I was the person who was making the big decisions. Being a coach means being alone. One is judged on results and what one gives his players," the former France midfielder said.