Zidane marks 50th Champions League game as a manager with victory as Real Madrid sparkle against Liverpool

The French manager oversaw a 3-1 thumping of the Reds as he brought up a half-century of games in charge in the competition

Just one manager has won more Champions League matches in their first 50 outings in charge of Real Madrid than Zinedine Zidane, after the boss earned his 31st victory in the competition on Tuesday.

In what might have been his squad’s most complete performance of the campaign, Real bested Liverpool 3-1 in the first leg of the quarter-finals thanks to two goals from Vinicius Junior and one from Marco Asensio.

Only Jupp Heynckes enjoyed a better run than Zidane to begin his European reign, with 32 wins in his first 50 matches.

Zidane’s run

Zidane is already a three-time Champions League winner from the touch line, providing a staggering amount of managerial success for the club he also starred at as a player. A triumph in 2020-21 without Cristiano Ronaldo, who was around for Real Madrid’s trio, would further bolster his legacy.

His latest result bodes well for Real’s chances -they have progressed 15 out of the past 16 times when winning the first leg in the competition, only failing to do so against Ajax in 2018-19.

What has been said?

Ferland Mendy credited Zidane for his tactical preparation against Liverpool, which helped Real Madrid dominate the opening 45 minutes.

“We knew they liked having the ball, we tried to take them in private, we did it well,” Mendy told RMC Sport. “We got into our game, we tried to stifle them, it paid off. We had instructions, yes, we should not let them play and let them put crosses.”

Zidane, meanwhile, was pleased with the way his players responded to his instruction.

“It’s our victory, the victory of Real Madrid,” the manager said. “I think we started the match very well. We were very good, we prevented them from playing, we were very good defensively especially.

“We know very well that they have very good offensive players, we controlled that well, and we were very good with the ball, on the counterattack. We studied their game well and we were very good. I think it’s a well-deserved victory, even if we had a bit of difficulty at the start of the second half.”

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