Given how talented he was himself as a player, Zinedine Zidane has always shown a keen eye for football talents.
That shouldn’t be surprising, with his own reputation on the field of play.
Time after time, he has shown himself to be ahead of the curve when marking out players for the future. Here are four that have grabbed his attention:
Eden Hazard (25). Winger
Even before his breakthrough at Chelsea when the Belgian hit superstardom, Zidane never hid his admiration for Hazard.
The Frenchman has wanted to see the winger at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu for several years.
He recommended the signing of Hazard to president Florentino Perez in 2011 and insisted upon it once more in 2012, before the player made the move from Lille to England.
Even last summer, there was again speculation of a potential move to Los Blancos.
Raphael Varane (23). Defender
Varane was undoubtedly one of Zidane’s great discoveries. Upon Zidane’s recommendation, the centre-back moved to the Spanish capital at 18 years old for a fee of 10 million euros.
Five years later, Varane has become an essential part of the Real squad and has a bright future at the club, given that he is still just 23.
Paul Pogba (23). Midfielder
It was Zidane’s great wish this past summer that he would be able to tempt Pogba to Madrid, having followed him closely for several years.
Real Madrid did make a move to try and give their coach his wish but the exorbitant sum paid by Manchester United made that impossible.
N’Golo Kante (25). Midfielder
Another French midfielder who was one of Zidane’s top priorities last summer was Kante, after he shone last year with Leicester City.
Zidane felt that the player could be a key part of his side and offer healthy competition to Brazilian enforcer Casemiro.
However, with Mateo Kovacic not leaving the club and an already heavily stocked midfield, another signing made things difficult for Zidane, who had to watch as he instead joined Chelsea.