Former Real Madrid star Luis Figo believes Zinedine Zidane could coach the Spanish giants in the future and warned current boss Rafael Benitez that he cannot expect time to win over the club’s fans.
Benitez has endured an uneasy relationship with the Santiago Bernabeu faithful since they saw Barcelona romp to a 4-0 Clasico victory in November, with some subsequent wins – including a remarkable 10-2 triumph over Rayo Vallecano – doing little for the ex-Liverpool manager’s popularity.
Zidane, who coaches Real Madrid Castilla, has been tipped as a possible replacement for Benitez and Figo believes his former team-mate harbours the ambition to take on one of the most high-pressure jobs in world football.
“I think so, it’s one of his goals,” he told Omnisport. “So if you want to be a coach and he’s now coaching the second team… I think in his head it’s the objective and the goal to one day to coach the first team.
“So I don’t know. It’s always depending on the opportunities – if they give you the responsibility or not.”
On Benitez’s predicament, Figo added: “Madrid is a club where you don’t have time. You always have to win.
“So it depends on the people who take the decision if they’re going to give him more time or not.”
Figo infamously swapped Barcelona for Real Madrid in a deeply controversial July 2000 transfer.
At Camp Nou he played alongside Pep Guardiola, now the hottest property in football coaching following the announcement he will leave Bayern Munich in search of a new challenge at the end of this season.
Leading Premier League clubs Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea have all been linked with Guardiola’s signature and Figo believes the ex-Barca boss will continue to excel in the game’s elite-club coaching roles.
“Pep has his philosophy of football and I think he dies with that philosophy and he tries to implement that philosophy in the clubs that he’s coached,” he explained.
“I think when you arrive at that level of coach there’s not so many options in the projects of the top clubs. So I think we can count with your fingers the clubs that he’s going to have the option to coach. I don’t think it’s too difficult to guess where he’s going to go.”