Borja Mayoral recounts Zinedine Zidane’s inspirational team talk that turned Champions League semi-final

Former Real Madrid forward Borja Mayoral has revealed that despite his cool exterior, Zinedine Zidane did have his own version of the Sir Alex Ferguson trademarked hairdryer treatment. Mayoral explains how he put it to great use to turn a Champions League semi-final.

Mayoral speaks about a second leg which took place at the Santiago Bernabeu in 2018, with Los Blancos leading 2-1 from the first leg. The game was finely poised at 1-1 at half-time, with Joshua Kimmich’s goal being cancelled out by a Karim Benzema equaliser.

Real Madrid were level on the night, and 3-2 up on aggregate, but the French manager was not happy with their performance. Mayoral retold how things played out on the Offsiders podcast, as carried by Diario AS.

“Zidane came into the dressing room, I’d never experienced anything like this. He came in and he was silent, and he said ‘all of you leave the dressing room now, apart from the players. So everyone, physios, kitmen, coaches, all went.”

“He gave his team talk, and the goal from Benzema came in the 46th minute. I don’t know if that was why, but his talk. He started shouting, he said we’re in the Bernabeu, we’re playing for a Champions League final, the badge, this, that.”

🗣 Borja Mayoral, à propos de la demi-finale de l’UCL 2018 :

“Nous perdions 0-1 au HT, but de Kimmich. Nous jouions très mal. Zidane est entré dans le vestiaire… Je n’avais jamais vécu quelque chose comme ça.

Nous étions tous silencieux et Zidane a crié “Tout le monde sort… pic.twitter.com/fjQYXAc2aC

— LosMadridistas (@LosMadridistas_) September 19, 2023

“I think it struck a chord internally, because Zidane is a very calm guy, rarely did he get annoyed. But that team talk, I remember it… pfft. Incredible. It got to everyone, Cristiano was there, Varane, Ramos, everyone.”

“46th minute, goal. ‘We’re playing a Champions League final, let’s go higher, they’re doing this…’ It’s true that the first half was very weak, and well, it was to get to the final.”

Zidane perhaps never got the credit he deserved at Real Madrid for his tactical acumen, but he was always praised for his ability to manage a dressing room and stars. Clearly, this is further evidence that he knew how and when to use his motivational tools.