NewslettersSign inAPP
spainSPAINargentinaARGENTINAchileCHILEcolombiaCOLOMBIAusaUSAmexicoMEXICOperuPERUlatin usaLATIN USAamericaAMERICA

Zidane, the calm approach for Real Madrid


Five years ago Zinedine Zidane came to Florentino Pérez’s rescue. Rafa Benítez couldn’t get the team to click, a side that was overwhelmed with instructions. Zidane arrived, put the house in order and won that season’s Champions League, and the two that followed. Then, in the midst of his glory, he abruptly left. He preferred to distance himself, without anyone knowing exactly why. A few months later, however, he was back, to rescue them once again, with the team, deprived of Cristiano's 50 goals-per-season, not performing under either Lopetegui or Solari. He had a decent finish to the season and in the following one went on to win the LaLiga title with the old guard plus some ineffective reinforcements.

Zidane, Del Bosque, Ancelotti

There was no fuss, just as he is. With his modus operandi of calmness, it is the most appropriate approach to manage a team like Real Madrid. The same calm that both Del Bosque and Ancelotti had; firm ideas but soft methods. That more friendly approach with a sense of fairness is what can allow you to maintain authority in a group like Madrid. The power is given by the club, which makes signings and pays the contracts. The power to create the line-ups. But authority, without which power loses its legitimacy, is only granted by those who are led, and it has to be cultivated and renewed each and every day. The five Champions League victories of Pérez’s Madrid have come with these three coaches. Zidane has won eleven titles in these five incomplete years.

Silverware | Real Madrid's French coach Zinedine Zidane
Full screen
Silverware | Real Madrid's French coach Zinedine ZidaneFILIPPO MONTEFORTEAFP

Zidane in the Mourinho shadow

However, he has had to persevere through some poor weeks recently, so much so that he was even seen to be in a bad mood, which is rather rare for him. An insidious rumour was emanating out of the club, amplified by the current sycophants: Florentino is not going to fire him, but he should leave with dignity, as it is clear that this is out of his hands. The underlying accusation was the same as that which once weighed on Del Bosque and Ancelotti: being too complacent with the players, not imposing himself. A certain Madridismo with an authoritarian drive, and with Florentino at the helm, still lingers in nostalgia for the Mourinho years. Zidane continues to battle against that shadow, but his old guard are not turning their back on him.