Zinedine Zidane hinted his priority is to manage the France national team amid claims he snubbed Paris Saint-Germain for Les Bleus but he refused to rule out one day taking charge of the Ligue 1 champions.
The Frenchman recently opened up on his desire to continue coaching and, while a possible destination is unknown, Zidane has appeared to hint that he would prefer it to be with France.
The former Real Madrid boss had been linked to PSG but the Ligue 1 club now look set to appoint Nice manager Christophe Galtier as Mauricio Pochettino’s successor after Zidane reportedly distanced himself from the role.
However, Zidane has now hinted his future lies with France as he appears keen to leave to door open to the national team.
‘I’m not finished with Les Bleus,’ he told French newspaper L’Equipe, as part of a special report celebrating his 50th birthday.
‘I want to do it, of course. I will be [France coach], I hope, one day. When? That’s not up to me.
‘But I want to come full circle with the French national team. I met this French team as a player. And it’s the best thing that ever happened to me!
‘But really! It is the peak. So, since I went through that and now I am a coach, the French team is firmly anchored in my head.
‘Succeed Deschamps? I don’t know. If it has to be done, it will be done, at that time or not.
‘When I say I want to take charge of the French national team one day, I’m assuming.
‘Currently, a team has been created. With their goals. But if the opportunity comes later, I will be there. Again, it’s not up to me. My deepest desire is there. The French national team is the most beautiful thing there is.’
Zidane has spent a year out of the game after his departure from Madrid last May.
Since his step into unemployment, the World Cup winner has been linked with a number of high-profile jobs, including PSG.
Mundo Deportivo claimed that Zidane was quickly earmarked as Pochettino’s successor, with the switch ‘closed’ ahead of him flying out to Qatar.
There, he was said to have met with club directors to tie up the finer details of his contract and discuss plans for next season – although negotiations later collapsed.
However, Galtier is reportedly poised to take charge at the Ligue 1 champions with Nice and PSG said to be close to agreeing a deal.
But Zidane refused to rule out the possibility of one day coaching the Parisian side as he told L’Equipe: ‘Never say never. Especially when you’re a coach nowadays.
‘When I was a player, I could choose, almost every club. As a coach, there aren’t fifty clubs I can go to. There are two or three possibilities. […]
‘If I go back to a club, it’s to win. I say this in all modesty. That’s why I can’t go anywhere.’
PSG club president Nasser Al Khelaifi dismissed the links to Zidane earlier this week as he claimed the club had not been in contact with him.
‘About Zidane I want to say something important, he is a person I liked a lot as a player and I like him as a coach, I love him,’ he told MARCA.
‘But we have never spoken to him, directly or indirectly, and I respect him a lot and I appreciate him a lot. A lot of things have come out in the press but we have never spoken to him.’
Meanwhile, RMC Sport claimed that Zidane is set on coaching the French national side after the 2022 World Cup, and therefore rejected PSG’s advances.
But the 50-year-old faces an obstacle in the form of France coach Didier Deschamps.
France’s captain at the 1998 World Cup has led the team to World Cup glory in 2018, followed up with the Nations League last year.
His success with Les Bleus has earned him the right to leave his position whenever he chooses, meaning Zidane could be waiting in the wings for a while.
However, Deschamps could round off his time with the national team after the World Cup in Qatar – his third as France boss and his fifth major tournament.
Deschamps is under pressure to deliver later this year as France look to defend their title off the back of a poor run in this year’s Nations League campaign.
Les Bleus fails to win a single one of their opening group stage games against Croatia, Denmark and Austria and the defending champions sit rock-bottom of Group A1.