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Zinedine Zidane looks to add to coaching success with Real Madrid

Real Madrid’s Zinedine Zidane has made a smooth transition from outstanding player to winning coach.
(Javier Soriano / AFP / Getty Images)

Less than three years ago, Zinedine Zidane was starting his coaching career after retiring as one of the most celebrated players in soccer history, taking over Real Madrid’s B team.

Fast forward to 2017, and Zidane is on his way to becoming one of the most successful coaches in European soccer history, for one of the sport’s winningest clubs. Since taking the helm from Rafa Benitez in January 2016, Zidane brought Real Madrid its first La Liga championship since 2012 and became the first coach to win consecutive UEFA Champions League titles.

The club’s success has reinvigorated an already devoted worldwide fan base that is used to success on the highest levels.

“We were one step ahead because he’s a player that played soccer, and when he played he was good,” Real Madrid midfielder Casemiro said of Zidane on Tuesday through an interpreter. “It’s great to have someone who understands the mind of a player because that’s really important to us.”

Zidane will be without the club’s biggest star Wednesday night when Real Madrid meets Manchester City at the Coliseum as part of the International Champions Cup.

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Organizers expect a crowd of more than 90,000, but Cristiano Ronaldo will not be on the field — the four-time world player of the year is vacationing in China. However, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema are among those expected to play for Real Madrid, and Sergio Aguero and David Silva will be available for Manchester City.

As for what Zidane thinks of the matchup against the English Premier League powerhouse, that’s unclear, since the coach skipped Tuesday’s news conference at UCLA before Real Madrid’s training session.

Real Madrid, which has been practicing at UCLA since mid-July, began its United States tour Sunday , falling to Manchester United on penalties 2-1 after a 1-1 tie at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara.

Now in its fifth installment, the ICC is an annual series of friendly games meant to simulate a tournament, with some of the world’s best teams taking part in games across the U.S., China and Singapore. The series, which runs until July 30, serves as a preseason tuneup for the major European soccer league seasons, which are set to begin in August.

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Spectator info

Pre-Match Festivities: A Fan Fest wils start at 4 p.m. in Christmas Tree Lane. It will included music, games and prizes.

Tickets: Will Call windows will be outside of Gate 4. Proper photo ID, such as a driver’s license, will be required.

Transportation: Parking lots open at 4 p.m. and gates open at 6 p.m. Parking costs $30, cash only. Tailgating will be allowed only in Lot 6. Delays are expected. Updates are available at myfigueroa.com or trafficinfo.lacity.org. It is advised you take Metro to the Coliseum. For $3.50 roundtrip you can take the Expo Line to either Expo Park/USC or Expo/Vermont. Rideshare services can drop-off outside of Exposition Park or at Figueroa and 39th Street. However, they’re prohibited from entering the Exposition Park area until one hour after the game. Riders should walk north of the USC campus to Jefferson Avenue for service.

Bag Policy: Bags, backpacks and other containers are prohibited with the exception of one clear plastic bag or tote bag that does not exceed 12 inches by 6 inches by 12 inches, or a one-gallon clear plastic storage bag.

tyler.blint-welsh@latimes.com

Follow Tyler Blint-Welsh on Twitter @tylergabriel_


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