Zidane to leave behind a stamp of moral dignity

We all assume that Zidane will stand down, irrespective if his Real Madrid side win the league title or not on Saturday. This has been a difficult season for all and possibly more so for the French head coach. He failed to unearth that young talent to rejuvenate the team and has remained faithful with the 'old guard' who tired as the season drew to a close. This contrasts with the philosophy from a few years back of a 'second team' that could be called upon for tricky matches. Speaking last Saturday, the Frenchman stated: “Sometimes, one needs to leave for the common good"...words that point to the end of the line. Rumours even circulated claiming that Zizou had already announced his departure to the team, a claim he denied in the post match press conference in Bilbao.

A successor for Zizou

Looking on from the outside, it does appear that his time on the Bernabéu bench is coming to an end with limited clamour at the club pleading for him to stay. Two successors wait in the wings in Max Allegri and Raúl. Time has passed since Miguel Muñoz's departure when Miljanic was drafted in as his replacement and since them Madrid switch from bringing in external coaches or promoting from within. Zidane's replacement showcases this in the two touted candidates: Allegri, the successful Italian or Raúl, who is still cutting his teeth in the position after a reasonably successful spell with Real Madrid Castilla. The former player does, however come with the approval of World Cup winner and former Real Madrid legend Jorge Valdano.

Sin tituloReal Madrid's French coach Zinedine Zidane gestures during the Spanish League football match between Athletic Club Bilbao and Real Madrid CF at the San Mames stadium in Bilbao on May 16, 2021. (Photo by Ander GILLENEA / AFP)

Big boots to fill

Whoever is drafted in to replace the Frenchman, they will have big shoes to fill as Zidane has been excellent in the role and not just because of the three back-to-back Champions League wins. The 48-year-old had the humility to return to the bench after the club's poor spell under Lopetegui and Solari and has been more than admirable at one of the the key tasks at hand, that of being the visible face of the football club. A modern day head coach is obliged to face the media two, maybe three times a week and Zidane has always conducted himself in an impeccable manner in the good, and not so good times at Madrid. As he leaves, we can but just be grateful for his time on the bench and he leaves behind a stamp of dignity that we will never forget.