There aren’t many persons in this world that can boast of winning the Ballon d’Or as a footballer and the Manager of the Year award as a coach. In fact, there is only one person who could claim of having such an incredible record under his belt: Zinedine Zidane.
The Frenchman of Algerian descent was one of the finest players of his generation and has done incredibly well as a coach of the greatest club in the world, Real Madrid. He has already won every trophy with the Blancos – except for the Copa del Rey – with back-to-back Champions League being the pick of things.
However, things don’t always go on smoothly and it seems as though the rough patch has finally arrived for the former Juventus midfielder.
Madrid are currently 8 points behind league-leaders Barcelona and three points behind Group H leaders in the Champions League, Tottenham Hotspur. In a season where Madrid were supposed to be favourites for the treble, fans are worried that they might have to end up trophyless come to the end of this season.
And this is why some sections of the Madrid fan base want him out, especially after their humiliating loss to Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League.
However, Florentino Perez shouldn’t pay those voices any attention.
For starters, Madrid are at the beginning of change – they no longer summon big-money players to their team and rely more on youngsters, so it is about time they began changing their approach towards managers by letting them stay at the club despite failures.
It is not that they should persist with someone who is continuously failing, but Zidane isn’t someone fits that bill. Indeed, this is a man who has won back-to-back Champions League and has won four trophies this year, which could become five after the end of the Club World Cup at the tail-end of the year.
So all these talks about sacking the Frenchman is nothing but knee-jerk reactions that shouldn’t be taken seriously.
Apart from that, Zidane is perhaps the most revered boss that Madrid have had since Vicente del Bosque. Every player in the team respects him, and he has the personality to keep the dressing room egos under check.
One of the complaints against Zidane is that he lacks tactical acumen. While that might be true to an extent, the former Bordeaux midfielder showed glimpses of tactical genius in some of the most important games last season – which includes the final against Juventus.
The problem right now is that Zidane is having to play a system to accommodate Isco in his preferred role. Isco might have been poor in the games Madrid lost, but it could be claimed that the Spaniard has arguably been Madrid’s best player in 2017 and Zidane’s insistence on getting the best out of him makes sense.
However, it isn’t working so well right now as the team’s tactical balance takes a hit with Isco in the hole behind two forwards in a 4-1-2-1-2 diamond. It worked well last season, but teams seemed to have found a way to exploit it.
In any case, Madrid should place their trust in Zidane to get them out of this rut – after all, he is a man who has won 7 titles in only 22 months as manager of the team.