Zinedine Zidane and his Real Madrid scouting success
Zidane has a nose for talent and has advised Madrid to sign some of the current superstars including Mbappé, Hazard and Varane before they were stars.
Mbappé is 21 now and is Florentino Pérez' long-term wish. Everything points towards a move for him although the crisis means it will have to wait until next year. The operation will see Madrid's bank balance take a hit but way back when, Zidane spoke of a kid from Monaco's academy who had something special about him. He has been campaigning for almost seven years to bring the French striker to the Bernabéu.
In 2012, Zizou recommended that Madrid sign the player. Mbappé took a trip to Valdebebas but an agreement could not be struck and he remained at Monaco. "I didn't go to Real Madrid because I wanted to remain at my country," Mbappé said last October. The PSG player had to wait another five years when Zidane had taken charge of Madrid's first team to be chased again. It was in 2017 and Mbappé had emerged as one of Europe's best young attacker at 18 years of age. Real Madrid opened negotiations with him and his family but they could not find a suitable destination for Bale and he stayed. Mbappé would have been left on the bench had he signed and he opted for PSG in the end. That move hasn't slowed down Mbappé and he is now a superstar. He is a World Cup winner and on his horizon could be another massive move...
Hazard signed this for Real Madrid last summer. The club paid €100 million for him to Chelsea but the Belgian could have arrived much earlier if Zidane had his way. Since 2009, when Zidane returned to Real Madrid to advise Florentino Pérez, he would not stop with message about the Belgian. "I would bring Hazard to Madrid with my eyes closed," he said in 2009. It wasn't until 2009 that Zidane officially recommended the Belgian to the club president. Hazard eventually left for Chelsea in 2012 where he remained until last summer.
Without a doubt, Varane was one of Zidane's great discoveries. Zidane put the 18-year-old Lens defender on the table at Real Madrid. "He has Blanc's mettle. It's not easy to find," said Zidane days after Madrid signed him for €10 million.
The signing of Fede Valverde when he was a 17-year-old Peñarol player cost €5 million. Zidane didn't have much to do with it but he was thrust into his arms when Paul Pogba did not sign for the club last summer and he is a player the manager has always liked. Zidane was daring enough to play him despite the triumvarate of Kroos, Casemiro and Modric in Madrid's midfield.
"This isn't a test. I like the player you are," said Zidane to the Uruguayan in private. The 21-year-old has been a sensation this season and has completely changed Madrid's midfield. Another success for Zidane with a young player.