The Real Madrid boss has been tipped to take charge of the national team once his former team-mate leaves
Zinedine Zidane is the number one candidate to replace Didier Deschamps as France manager, French Football Federation president Noel Le Graet has said.
Zidane, who played 108 games for France in his 12-year international career, still has over a year left on his contract at Real Madrid, though pressure is building on him amid his team’s inconsistency this season.
What Le Graet said about Zidane
Deschamps’ current deal with Les Bleus will end after the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and if he decides to leave next year, it will be his former team-mate who will get the call from Le Graet.
“We have a very good relationship with Zidane, personally, at least,” he said in an interview with RTL.
“If Didier stopped, if I was still there, the first person I would see would be Zidane.”
It is not the first time Le Graet has expressed his desire to see Zidane take the World Cup-winning coach’s place, as he told Telefoot+ last month: “The day Didier leaves, he will decide to leave or will not be renewed, if Zidane is available, then he will be the man for the job.”
Deschamps himself said recently that he would like to see Zidane take charge of the national team, telling BFMTV: “He always had a decisive element to his game and I never had a problem with that. Afterwards, everything he has done… Zizou is Zizou.”
Zidane lifted the World Cup with France in 1998 and then played a key role in their Euro 2000 success. His career ended in controversy, whoever, as he was sent off in the 2006 World Cup final after headbutting Italy defender Marco Materazzi. The Azzurri went on to win the trophy in a penalty shootout.
Benzema back for Les Bleus?
Zidane’s appointment could open up the possibility of Karim Benzema returning to the national team.
The 33-year-old striker continues to thrive under his compatriot at Real Madrid, but he has been frozen out for France in the wake of his alleged involvement in a plot to blackmail Mathieu Valbuena.
Deschamps reiterated in January that Benzema has no way back into the squad as long as he is in charge. He said he would “never forget” Benzema’s racism allegations after he was left out of the squad for Euro 2016.
However, Zidane is eager to see his star forward get another chance after FFF presidential candidate Michel Moulin vowed to bring him back into the fold should he replace Le Graet.
He said: “On the management of Karim Benzema, who is a great striker, Didier Deschamps, he is an employee of the FFF. If above him, he is told to play Benzema, he must make him play.”