Real Madrid vs Man City: Zinedine Zidane names Pep Guardiola as best manager in the world ahead of first ever

Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane made clear his belief there is no better coach in world football than Pep Guardiola ahead of his side’s Champions League clash vs Manchester City.

The two European giants go head-to-head in the first leg of their round-of-16 tie at the Bernabeu on Wednesday evening – and talkSPORT brings you full LIVE commentary of the match!

And Zidane paid the ultimate tribute to his opposite number as they prepare to meet as managers in a competitive match for the first time.

Zidane had words of praise for his opposite number ahead of Man City’s trip to Real Madrid

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Zidane had words of praise for his opposite number ahead of Man City’s trip to Real Madrid

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“He always proved that [he’s no.1],” said Los Blancos boss Zidane. “First with Barcelona, then with [Bayern] Munich, now with Man City.

“That’s my opinion. Some people can think other coaches are better but for me, he is the best.”

Such is the regard Zidane holds Guardiola in, he went to Germany to observe Pep’s managerial methods while he was coaching Bayern Munich.

He added: “I’ve mentioned before that I’ve spent a few days with him when he was at Bayern, talking about training, how to manage a team, and he was quite honest, quite open, and I learned a lot talking with him.

“Obviously we are inspired by what he’s done. That motivates us even more. We’re not afraid of playing against Guardiola or his teams.”

One man who won’t be lining up against Guardiola’s star-studded side is Eden Hazard, as the former Chelsea playmaker fractured his ankle during Real’s 1-0 LaLiga defeat by Levante last Saturday.

No timeframe has been put on Hazard’s return, with Zidane unsure if the Belgium international will have to go under the knife due to his latest injury blow.

“He likes to play football and he’s not going to be able to so I can tell you what I see in his eyes, he’s not happy,” Zidane revealed.

“Now is a bad moment for him and I believe that for a few days it’s going to be like that.

“I don’t know if he’s going to have surgery or not. All I know is that he’s not happy. I don’t know what’s going to happen. I don’t know if the season is over for him, but I hope not.”

It has been an injury-hit season for Hazard since joining Los Blancos from Chelsea last summer, with only 15 appearances made in all competitions – and possibly no more being added before the end of the campaign.

In fact, Hazard will miss more games in his debut season at the Bernabeu than he did in his ENTIRE seven-year Chelsea career combined.