“It almost happened”: when Bordeaux was on the verge of recruiting Zidane

Ten years later, while the Girondins de Bordeaux are languishing in Ligue 2 when Zinédine Zidane lifted three Champions Leagues on the Real Madrid bench, the alliance seems improbable. However, the Scapular club could have been led by the 1998 Ballon d’or, as ex-Bordeaux owner Nicolas de Tavernost recalled in an interview with The Team. “We went to his house in Madrid with Jean-Louis Triaud (the deputy president) to remain discreet. It almost happened…” said the boss of M 6, who sold the club in 2018.

The facts described by de Tavernost date back to the spring of 2014. The Girondins, seventh in Ligue 1 at the end of the season, were looking for a replacement for Francis Gillot and had set their sights on Zidane, then assistant to Carlo Ancelotti, the coach of Real Madrid. Attached to Bordeaux, where he played for four years (1992-1996) and played in a UEFA Cup final, “Zizou” finally decided to stay in Madrid. “It would only have been temporary, because he had other ambitions,” de Tavernost continues.

Sagnol finally named

Appointed coach of Castilla, the White House reserve that same year, Zidane took over the first team following the departure of Rafael Benitez, a year and a half later, for the success that we know. For its part, Bordeaux turned to ex-international Willy Sagnol, who remained in post for a year and a half. It was at the beginning of the slow agony of the club, now 13th in Ligue 2 and in great financial difficulty. “It’s a shame and it’s painful to see the club in Ligue 2. Our 19 years (1999-2018) were wasted in three years” commented de Tavernost on this subject.

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