Morientes not surprised by Zidane success as Real Madrid eye greatness

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Zinedine Zidane has made the seamless transition from extraordinary player to successful coach and former team-mate Fernando Morientes is not surprised as Real Madrid look to make Champions League history in Cardiff.

Zidane and his men head to the Principality Stadium to face Juventus on Saturday as defending champions and newly-crowned LaLiga kings.

One of Madrid's favourite sons has been instrumental in dethroning Barcelona and putting the club on the verge of becoming the first in history to retain the European crown in its current format.

Since replacing Rafael Benitez in January last year, Zidane has gone from coaching Castilla - Madrid's reserve team - to a Champions League and LaLiga-winning boss.

But Zidane's success does not come as a surprise to Morientes - who helped Madrid to Champions League glory in 1998, 2000 and 2002 - because of his knowledge of the Santiago Bernabeu.

Speaking about the three-time FIFA World Player of the Year, Morientes told Omnisport: "It is not a surprise for me because he is a good manager.

"He won LaLiga and the Champions League last year. He also did very good work in Castilla.

"The most important thing is that he has very good players. That is the most important thing. It is no surprise. He was a footballer, he knows Madrid and the club very well and all the players. He has a strong mentality and is very calm. 

"At Madrid, it is easier than another team [because of the quality]."

While Zidane has already claimed four trophies since taking over from Benitez, Morientes believes the best is yet to come from the 44-year-old Frenchman.

"When you are coach of Madrid, you are always under pressure," Morientes said. "People now speak of Zidane as a very good manager. But in the future, when he has five, 10 years of more training, we will see the best of Zidane."

After achieving their objective of topping the Spanish standings for the first time since 2012, 11-time European champions Madrid now stand on the cusp of greatness.

Never before have a team gone back-to-back in the Champions League. If Zidane masterminds victory over former club and Italian title-holders Juventus, where would Madrid tank among the greatest sides?

Morientes said: "To win the title two times in a row is very difficult. They would be the first ones in history.

"At Madrid, they have always had very good teams. The Galacticos, Zidane, Roberto Carlos, [Luis] Figo, all those players. But in this moment, Madrid have an excellent team.

"Are they the best in history? It is very difficult but they have a very strong team.

"Madrid always have very good teams. If they won this Champions League, they would be in the best position of history.

"They are now legends. But if they won the title, we will always remember this team for Spanish and European football."