REAL MADRID

The Zidane effect: 7 keys behind the Champions League win

The Zidane effect: 7 keys behind the Champions League success

1. Close relationship with his squad. The French coach was able to restore the harmony in the dressing room that was apparent during the Ancelotti era and had been lost during the brief period that Benitez was in control at the club. Zidane always stated: "A coach has to be close to his players and maintain a positive relationship with them".

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The Zidane effect: 7 keys behind the Champions League success

2. Convey a simple message. Zidane is no fan of stats and as was conscious that after the Benitez reign, the players needed a clear-cut message. Simple passes and ball to feet is his mantra to his squad. The clarity of his tactics was well received by the Real Madrid players and he made is intention clear from day one. “My style of playing is to play out quickly from the back and retain possession. We'll play with the BBC”.

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The Zidane effect: 7 keys behind the Champions League success

3. Recover the physical condition of the squad. Zidane's initial concern on taking over was the physical condition of his players. “I'm not worried about the quality of my players but we need to improve our physical condition" he stated from the outset. The appointments of Bernardo Requena and Hamidou Msaidie as part of his coaching team have been fundamental in the team's success.

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The Zidane effect: 7 keys behind the Champions League success

5. Special attention paid to Bale. Gareth Bale was one of the Madrid players most displeased about Rafa Benitez's departure and Zidane was conscious of this from day one. The French coach has paid special attention to the Welsh striker and the last five months have seen Bale play some of his best football during his time at the Bernabeu. His defensive play has also improved as was witnessed in Milan on Saturday.

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The Zidane effect: 7 keys behind the Champions League success

4. Casemiro, the midfield link. Zidane took some time to warm to the Brazilian and was only used for 21 minutes in his first eight games in charge. He got his chance away at Levante and his performance ensued that he became a pivotal player in the team for the season run in. He assisted admirably in defensive duties freeing up Kroos and Modric. “He's a colossal" stated one of his team mates.

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The Zidane effect: 7 keys behind the Champions League success

6. Maintaining faith in his 4-3-3 system. In his first press conference the 43 year old coach proclaimed: “I'll play with a 4-3-3 system using the BBC”. Even on the occasions when Cristiano, Benzema and Bale have been missing through injury, the French coach has not amended his tactical formation. He has had no qualms in benching the likes of James and Isco and has a clear defined "ideal XI".

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The Zidane effect: 7 keys behind the Champions League success

7. Carvajal, his number one number ‘2’. Benítez deemed that Danilo was his key right-back after the club paid 31,5 million eiuro for his services last summer. Zidane though otherwise and Carvajal was often selected ahead of the Brazilian being instrumental in Madrid's win away at Camp Nou cancelling out Neymar.

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