Zinedine Zidane will be supporting his boyhood club in Wednesday night’s Europa League final between Marseille and Atlético – “I am and always have been a Marseille supporter,” he told Uefa.com – but the Real Madrid manager will be paying particular attention to one player on the pitch in Lyon: Maxime Lopez.
Zidane is a professed admirer of the 20-year-old midfielder, who is the organiser of Rudi Garcia’s side and a France under-21 international. The Real boss has always kept an eye on emerging talent in Ligue 1 and there is a sentimental link to Lopez as well – he is close friends with Zidane’s sons.
Zidane impressed by Lopez's emergence
In his second season in the French top flight, Lopez has caught the eye with his passing ability and poise. And he has not gone unnoticed by Zidane: “He played with my kids and he has exceptional technique for his age and size. When we first saw him, we maybe thought he was a bit small, but I’m not surprised by how he is playing now. It’s fascinating what he’s doing and his personality really impresses me. He works really hard, sacrifices himself for the team and allows his teammates to play.”