Clarence Seedorf looking forward to challenges at Deportivo La Coruna
Clarence Seedorf is back at Deportivo La Coruna, hoping that a return to La Liga as a coach will do the same as it did for him as a player.
The former Real Madrid midfielder was hired earlier this week to take over Deportivo, with his initial contract lasting through the end of the season.
It will be a difficult task for the 41-year-old, with Deportivo 18th in La Liga with 17 points from 22 matches — just inside the relegation zone.
But Seedorf says he is looking forward to the challenge.
“I can help the club, and the club can help me,” said Seedorf, 41. “I like to take on challenges. It would be easy to go to a place where everything is working well.”
Seedorf was highly successful as a midfielder, dominating nearly everywhere he played, but his attempts at coaching haven’t been as effective.
He was in charge at AC Milan for only four months in 2014, and spent half a season with Shenzhen in China League One two years ago.
“Coaching is not easy,” Seedorf said. “There are a lot of coaches out there. That’s why I thank Deportivo for giving me this opportunity.”
Seedorf said his lack of coaching experience won’t keep him from doing a good job. He noted that Zinedine Zidane had even less experience when he took over as Real Madrid coach.
“You have to look at the quality of the professional, at his potential,” Seedorf said. “You have to have faith in this young generation of coaches, and this young generation has been doing well.”
Zidane was 43 when he joined Madrid two years ago. He has led the club to two Champions League titles, among other achievements.
Deportivo president Tino Fernandez said Seedorf fits the bill.
“We only considered candidates who were leaders,” Fernandez said. “This team needs to improve, and leadership and charisma are key for that. That’s what Seedorf can provide us.”
A prominent player for Real Madrid from 1996-99, Seedorf helped the club win the Champions League in 1998. He had already won it with Ajax in 1995.
Seedorf left Madrid in 2000 for Inter Milan and AC Milan, where he spent most of his career. He replaced Massimiliano Allegri at AC Milan during the 2014-15 season and led the club from the drop zone to a seventh-place finish in Serie A, but his contract was not renewed when the season ended.
His other stint as a coach was with Chinese club Shenzen in 2016, when he failed to promote the club to the top flight after four wins, six losses, and four draws.
Seedorf’s first match with Deportivo is on Monday at home against Real Betis.