Former Italy and Juventus boss Marcello Lippi admitted he was surprised to see Zinedine Zidane move into coaching.
Zidane is now coach of Real Madrid having retired from playing after being sent off in the 2006 World Cup final for France against an Italy side led by Lippi, whom he played under at Juve.
However, Lippi did not foresee the former France international - who replaced Rafael Benitez in January - to step into the dugout.
"I never thought that Zidane would become a coach," Lippi told L'Equipe.
"I have coached players like [Didier] Deschamps who I knew would do well on the bench, but Zidane was certainly not one of them.
"That being said, I believe Zidane can do well at a big club like Real Madrid. Zidane is intimately familiar with the psychology of top players, in both defeat and victory."
Life as Madrid coach has got off to a mixed start for the Frenchman with the club now 12 points behind La Liga leaders Barcelona, but Lippi said Zidane needed time at the Santiago Bernabeu to enjoy success.
"I think it is too early to pass judgement on him," Lippi said.
"He was brought in mid-way through the season which is always difficult and he needs a pre-season to work with his players and get his ideas across.
"People will underestimate him, I am sure of this. People will focus on Ronaldo on the pitch and forget that Zidane is coach."