Deschamps expects Zidane to be France coach one day

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France coach Didier Deschamps fully expects Zinedine Zidane to take charge of Les Bleus one day, but is not letting that prospect distract him from his World Cup mission.

Zidane is now a free agent after stepping down as Real Madrid boss just days after leading the Spanish giants to a third successive Champions League title.

Deschamps, who along with Zidane helped France win the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000, was asked if Thursday’s surprise development had put him under any extra pressure – positive or negative – as he prepares the highly-fancied French for a tilt at glory in Russia.

The former Juventus boss’ response was to insist he remains completely focused on the task at hand.

“Positive pressure? I don’t know,” a smiling Deschamps told a press conference, as reported by the French media, ahead of Friday’s international friendly against Italy in Nice.

“I’m here, immersed in my group. My energy is focused on the major event that awaits us.

“There will be a post-World Cup certainly. But I don’t ask myself that question. I remain focused and focused on what lies ahead with this group of players.”

Nevertheless, Deschamps is convinced that his former team-mate will inherit his position – be it directly or further down the line – as France coach.

Deschamps, who is under contract until 2020, added: “It’s not me who holds the keys (to the national team), it’s my president.

“I don’t know what he (Zidane) has decided. For now, I think he wants to enjoy his rest, his family and loved ones.

“He will be coach at some point. When? I cannot say, but that seems logical to me. It will happen when it happens.”

Deschamps was also asked whether he had thought about following in Zidane’s footsteps and going out on a high this summer, should France claim only their second World Cup crown.

“I don’t think about it. It doesn’t matter, nothing can make me lose my calm and serenity. But I hope that you will have the opportunity to ask the question at the end of the competition,” he said with a smile.

“I do not dream, I do not imagine. I make everything happen in the best possible way.”

France, who face Peru, Denmark and Australia in Group C at the World Cup, beat the Republic of Ireland 2-0 on Monday and now continue their preparations for the finals against Italy.

The Italians are four-time world champions but will not be involved this summer after their shock failure to qualify.

That led to Roberto Mancini replacing Giampiero Ventura as coach and the new boss began his reign with a 2-1 win over Saudi Arabia this week, with the returning Mario Balotelli netting the opener.

Balotelli, who plays his club football for Nice, is a fitness doubt for the clash at the Allianz Riviera and Italy will make a decision on his availability on Friday morning.

If he is able to play, the 27-year-old could captain the Azzurri.

Looking ahead to his first major test as an international manager, Mancini told a press conference with quotes reported by the FIGC: “I’m confident and curious to see how we get on against a team that for me are one of the candidates to win the World Cup, a very strong national team.

“It will be a good test.

“We have worked well in these first seven days, but the road is long.”

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