Zinedine Zidane regrets never playing for hometown club Marseille

Zinedine Zidane has told Marseille's official website he would have loved to have played for his hometown club and paid tribute to Marcelo Bielsa's work at the Stade Velodrome this season.

The Marseille-born legend started his professional career at nearby Cannes, before first establishing his reputation at Bordeaux.

He then developed into one of the game's all-time greats during spells at Juventus and Real Madrid, but ended his career in 2006 having never pulled on an OM shirt.

The 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000 winner, who has been at Marseille's training centre this week as part of his coaching badges course, revealed he had harboured the ambition of playing for the club, while adding that he feels the Ligue 1 leaders are well stocked for the future.

"OM is in a good position. I never played here, but it was a desire that was never fulfilled," Zidane told OMTV. "To be here at La Commanderie, to see the facilities...it looks like a big club. There are some really interesting things, and then there is Marcelo Bielsa who has come in. That has changed things. That's good for the club."

Along with former France teammates Claude Makelele and Bernard Diomede, Zidane, who is Madrid's reserve team coach, has attended Marseille training sessions and spoken with Bielsa as part of the course they are taking to obtain their full coaching qualification. Zidane is taking the course after being found guilty of managing Castilla without the required coaching badges.

Bielsa -- who took over at OM in the summer after the club missed out on European qualification last season -- has guided the 1993 Champions League winners to the top of the Ligue 1 table in the first half of the campaign, keeping Paris Saint-Germain at bay.

"Bielsa has changed things," Zidane added. "Up untill now, there have been coaches who were put in place. He came in with his way of working. What is interesting for the club, for Marseille, is that he is getting results. You can like or dislike his method, but we'll judge him on results.

"What has changed is that OM are winning, OM are top of the table. He loves his players, and I think he loves those who have made football history. That's in part what he wanted to say to me by telling me he was happy to welcome us."

Following Thursday's session with the OM first team, Bielsa explained his coaching methods to Makelele, Diomede and Zidane.

The trio, however, were not as impressed by him as the Argentine was by the presence of Zidane, according to another attendee, former Sunderland and OM midfielder Eric Roy.

"For Bielsa, to meet great players like Zidane, Makelele and Diomede, it was a real pleasure," Roy told RMC. "He's someone who likes the players, who is, of course, passionate about football and seems to literally live it.

"When he saw Zidane I wouldn't say he was like a little boy, but almost. You could feel it, he loves players. We stayed three hours with him, but it was almost too short."