MADRID (Reuters) - Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane handed a La Liga debut to his son Luca by starting him in Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Villarreal in their final Liga game of the season, making the goalkeeper the third Zidane family member to play for the Spanish giants.
Frenchman Zidane was expected to rest first-choice players in their last game before next Saturday’s Champions League final against Liverpool but fielded a full-strength side against Villarreal, with the exception of the 20-year-old goalkeeper.
The second oldest of Zinedine’s four sons, Luca had a relatively quiet first half as his side took a 2-0 lead into and he made an impressive save by tipping a free kick from Nicola Sansone over the bar after the interval.
His hopes of keeping a clean sheet were ended by Roger Martinez’s sweeping shot into the top corner which he could do little about but his inexperience became more evident when he misjudged a long ball into the path of Samuel Castillejo and the Villarreal forward dribbled past him to equalise.
“He has been waiting a long time to play and he is like any other player in the squad. He did well and I’m happy that he made his debut,” Zidane said.
“It’s not difficult for me to separate the role of coach and father, I’m pleased for him as his dad and as his coach, and we’ll see each other later at home.”
Before making his competitive debut on Sunday, Luca had only played two friendly games for Madrid’s first team, pre-season matches against an MLS all-star team and Serie A side Fiorentina last August.
The former Real midfielder’s oldest son Enzo Fernandez made one appearance for the Spanish side in last season’s King’s Cup, scoring in a 6-1 win over Cultural Leonesa. He now plays for Lausanne Sport in Switzerland.
Zidane’s youngest two sons Theo and Elyaz are part of Real’s youth set-up, creating the possibility that all four children will follow their father in turning out for the club.
They might struggle, however, to have the same impact as their father, who inspired Real to the 2002 Champions League and is one game away from becoming the first coach to guide them to three successive European Cups.
Reporting by Richard Martin, editing by Ed Osmond