Zidane has luck on his side, but there's more to it than that
Real Madrid vs Borussia Dortmund
Steeped in luck
Many football analysts are now starting to focus on "Zidane’s lucky streak" and it reminds me of the comment made by former head of the Spanish FA (1967-75) Pablo Porta when he assessed Real Madrid's coach at the time Miguel Muñoz claiming: “This guy is steeped in luck”. I'm not sure where the saying came from but this was the first time I recall hearing it. Now people are claiming that Zidane is steeped in luck after his side secured a late point against Barcelona on Saturday. There are other motives for this line of thinking: last season's favourable Champions League draws whilst Atlético were forced to battle against the likes of Barça and Bayern. Or even the final itself with the Sergio Ramos opener being scored from an offside position. One could also cite the missed Griezmann penalty in the final and the game and title itself being decided on the lottery that is a penalty shoot out.
During yesterday's pre-match press conference he was asked this question and affirmed that yes, he felt he was lucky, answering the question with the characteristic warm smile of his. This is nothing to be ashamed of and we all know Napoleón demanded "lucky generals". Madrid are certainly no strangers to luck at present and this is certainly the view of their rivals and even shared by the club's supporters. Former Real Madrid coach Luis Molowny was deemed to be lucky and this was picked up by his players who were inspired by this contagious element. He always made a point of touching the statue at the club dedicated to former players Aranguren and Machimbarrena on the way to the pitch and it worked for him.
In his press conference, Zidane added, ‘but it's not just that’. I'm of the opinion that it is certainly more than that. Luis Aragonés once claimed that luck exists but you have to get up early and trap it. Zidane does a careful job of looking out for his players well-being and has them all on his side (maybe with the exception of James) and this team spirit is a huge key to success. If he occasionally makes an error, he is quick to rectify it and the only criticism that could be aimed at the French coach is his persistence with Benzema. In eleven months in the position on the Bernabeu bench, Zidane has won 17 and 15 points more than Barça and Atlético respectively bagging a Champions League title on the way. Certainly, luck is a key ingredient in football but in Zidane's case it's more than just that.