Real Madrid Doesn’t feel pressure of being compared to his father
Luca Zidane has insisted that being associated to his father Zinedine doesn’t weigh down on him and that he’s proud of having his name.
The goalkeeper has left Real Madrid for a season on loan at Racing Santander and spoke to MARCA in depth about his life as a Zidane.
Was it painful to say goodbye to Valdebebas?
“It’s always been my home. I’ve trained there every day for the last 15 years. Tomorrow, later… I’m going to miss it.”
Enzo went before you, first at Castilla, then in the first team and later leaving Real Madrid. Did he support you in leaving?
“It’s more my decision, but he gave me advice because he’s been at Alaves, in Switzerland, at [Real] Majadahonda and he knows how it goes. It was my decision.”
It’s not normal, whether you’re called Zidane or not, that four brothers are in the same academy at Real Madrid.
“We’re a very footballing family. We’ve always spoken about football. In fact, my mother’s a bit fed up of it. She tells us that we’re always talking about football, about the same thing. We’ve always been a very footballing family. We speak and play football between us. I’m glad we have the same passion.”
Is this the end of your time at Real Madrid?
“I’m on loan at Racing and very happy to be here. I needed to leave [Real Madrid], but we’ll see what happens in the future.”
What did you think when Racing called you? Did you think it was the right moment to leave?
“I thought it was the best moment. I was looking to have more game time and show what I can do, what I’m worth and Racing gave me that opportunity. I had other offers, but Racing was the one that interested me the most. It’s a historic club and I’m here.”
What was it like leaving the attention of being at Real Madrid?
“Leaving Real Madrid was the option that I managed from the start and coming to Santander was something I fancied. I’m very happy to be here.”
Did you think about staying at Real Madrid?
“I didn’t know what would happen to me at Real Madrid last year or this year. I had to wait each year like all of the academy players. Once the option of Racing came in, I didn’t look at any others. I’m happy to be able to be here.”
What do you know about Racing and the city of Santander?
“I’ve not been here very long, only three days. I’m looking for a house. They spoke very well about the city and the facilities before I came and it’s all true. I’m very happy and really at ease [here].”
What are you looking for at Racing? Being the starting goalkeeper without any competition?
“The idea is to get more minutes under my belt at a higher level than Castilla. I’m in the Segunda and it’s about proving myself and enjoying what I like doing, which is playing football.”
You will have to battle with Ivan Crespo for a place in goal at Racing.
“The position of goalkeeper is always special. Competition is always good. They’ve told me about Ivan and I’ve seen that he’s a great goalkeeper. Competition is good, always.”
And Luca Zidane, is he a good goalkeeper?
“We’ll see in the future.”
For someone that’s spent their entire life in the Real Madrid academy, it can’t just be because of your name.
“People talk, people can say what they want. I know what I’m worth and I’m working every day to improve. We’ll see if people are right or not in the future.”
Have these criticisms about your name hurt you? Have you played simply because you’re called Zidane?
“No, I’ve been used to comparisons from a young age, from those than speak about me for my surname, those that say I’m here because of that or whatever. I’m used to it. I don’t look at it. I’m focussed on my job, in what I love to do, that I’m sure of. I have big ambitions and let’s hope I get to the highest level one day.”
What did you think when you heard people say that Enzo or you played because of your surname?
“People talk without knowing what we’re like. They talk about the sons, but they really talk about the surname, about Zidane. They don’t know what we’re like, what Enzo, Luca, Theo or Elyaz are like. They only talk about the surname, without knowing anything.”
I’m one of those that thinks people have criticised Zinedine Zidane without knowing how he acts.
“Those that know my father know that he can’t do this. Last season I was with my father as coach and father. They are different things. At Valdebebas it was all work and sport. At home we’re father and son, but professionals at the club.”
Has he had a go at you?
“At home, yes. I don’t remember at Valdebebas, but at home, yes.”
Luca Zidane has always been sounded out for his mistakes, but no one speaks about the good things.
“It’s logical, people pay more attention to mistakes than the good things. It’s always been like that in football. I’m used to people talking bad about me. I’m focussed on my job, in what I love. I’m very clear in what I want and I have big ambitions to get to the top.”
And what is your ambition?
“Reaching the highest possible level, being a great goalkeeper.”
Who is your goalkeeping role model?
“I’ve been with Keylor [Navas] and Thibaut [Courtois]. They’re two incredible goalkeepers. I’ve focussed a lot of them. I’ve always had a great relationship with them. I’m very grateful for having two goalkeepers like them with me.”
What is Luca like as a goalkeeper?
“It’s difficult to describe yourself. I’m a goalkeeper with lots of personality, which is noticeable. I think I’m agile in goal, good at one-on-ones, good with my feet… that’s it.”
Why are you a goalkeeper when your father is one of the best attacking players in history?
“Sometimes I ask myself that. It’s Enzo’s fault. I played football with him from a young age and, because I was younger, he made me go in goal. I always had to go in goal because Enzo was older. He told me I was quite good. I have a different personality and I don’t like it when people compare me with my father and being a goalkeeper is difficult to compare myself with him.”
Have you given up being like him?
“Not at all. I’ve always said that I admire my father, like any son. We know what he’s done as a footballer. I’m very proud to have this surname, but I want to be called Luca in football and not Luca compared with my father.”
Does the Zidane surname weigh down on you?
“No, it doesn’t weigh down on me. I’m used to comparisons. I’m proud to have this surname. You can’t compare yourself with your father in footballing terms. Everyone has their own sporting career. I’m on one side and my father is on another.”
Who is the best out of the four Zidane brothers?
“You can’t say. I’m sure that I’m the worst.”
Are there arguments in matches at home?
“Yes, yes. There’s lots of bickering. All four of us are very competitive and my father is the referee sometimes, so there are no fights. Competitive? Yes, but with your brothers, it’s a bit softer.”
What did your father say when you told him you’d decided to leave?
“I always make my own decisions, but he advised me to come to Racing for what it represents. He told me that if I’m happy, he’s happy.”
And is he happy at Real Madrid?
“It’s something different being at Real Madrid for him. He has a very strong link to the club and he’s very happy to be at the best club in the world.”
How did you feel when he told you he was returning as Real Madrid coach?
“I was happy for him. If he’s happy and it’s what he wants to do, then we’re all happy. The family was in agreement.”
What do you think about the signings? Does he need Paul Pogba?
“I’m not getting into this, it’s for my father and the club. It’s not my business.”
Is your father happy with the squad he’s got?
“Yes, very happy.”
And you, are you happy with your Real Madrid adventure?
“Absolutely. I have a very good relationship with the players in the first-team. I felt very comfortable. Now I have to leave to try something different. I’ve always been at ease at Real Madrid. It’s been 15 years in the academy and I have a special relationship with many of them.”
What happened to Real Madrid last season?
“After four years of winning things, there will always be talk of a collapse when you stop winning, but I think the team will try to return to their best this season and win all the trophies possible.”
From thinking about winning titles at Real Madrid, you’re thinking about staying up at Racing?
“It’s another objective, a new experience. The club’s objective is to stay up and we have to try to do it.”
What can Luca Zidane bring to the day-to-day at Racing?
“Hard work, commitment, giving 100 percent for the club. With my teammates, being myself; humble.”
You insist a lot on this humility…
“Yes, because it’s always been very important in my family. Lots of things are said, but our parents brought us up this way. We are what we’re like now thanks to the education that they gave us. We’re humble, although you might not think that from the outside because of everything that goes on. We have your feet on the ground.”
GO TO SOURCE
José Félix Díaz & Rodolfo Espinosa, Adapted by Billy Munday