Certain managerial positions in world football bring tremendous pressure. Real Madrid is one of them, and Zinedine Zidane will now be walking away from that job after a remarkable run of success.
The 45-year-old coach has announced that he will no longer be at the helm for Los Blancos, following an unprecedented third consecutive UEFA Champions League victory. The decision was met with some shock and surprise amongst both pundits and fans, as Zidane somehow was able to deliver consistently in Europe’s most prestigious competition.
In only a little more than two years at the Santiago Bernabéu, the former World Cup winner appeared to have a magic touch despite what seemed like less than full control over his squad. It was far from perfect, evidenced by a third-place finish in La Liga this past season and disappointment in the Copa del Rey.
However, Real Madrid are a bit different. Seemingly obsessed with the Champions League/European Cup, it is a tournament that has come to define the club. Perhaps not considered one of the greatest teams in history, Zidane managed to gain a massive amount of success in a very short period of time.
Citing a “need for change” in the Spanish capital, there was a feeling that the Frenchman knew he had to depart. Names like Mauricio Pochettino and Joachim Löw have been mentioned as potential replacements, and a new era will be on the way for Madrid in the coming months.
We take a look at the key reasons behind Zinedine Zidane’s choice to pursue a different path in his career.
Ronaldo and Bale are soon to depart also
Following Real’s win against Liverpool in the Champions League final, both Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale seemed to hint that their time with the club was nearing an end as well. This possibility has been speculated before, and it does feel like it is time for them to open a new chapter.
Bale is looking for more consistent playing time, as he was not always a starter in Zidane’s line-up (he was on the bench at kick-off versus Liverpool). Ronaldo simply may feel that he has achieved all that he can with Madrid, and a new challenge is desired.
Nowhere to go but down
The club have captured three consecutive Champions League crowns. The only thing really left now is a failure.
The chances of continuing this type of success are extremely unlikely, a fact not lost on Zidane during this process.
It will be difficult (maybe even impossible) to repeat the amazing success in Europe that has been seen since his appointment in 2016.
Time to prove himself as a tactician
Zidane was not regarded as the best tactical manager, often criticised for his team selections and formations.
Some have suggested that it is due to the sheer talent and quality of the players that Los Blancos were able to triumph.
Zinedine Zidane will now look to accomplish a new objective in football, and it will be fascinating to see where his new journey takes him.