Monday, April 23, 2018

Is Zinedine Zidane putting his legendary status in danger at Real Madrid?

Milos Markovic in Editorial, La Liga 30 Jan 2016

Is Zidane risking his reputation at Real Madrid? / Image via

Is Zidane risking his reputation at Real Madrid? / Image via

The Frenchman should be applauded for his courage and bravery as even more experienced managers would shrink from the opportunity to take up Real Madrid’s hot seat from Rafa Benitez.

But, is he putting his legacy and stature in danger after deciding to accept the offer from Florentino Perez?

Earlier this month Los Blancos have confirmed Zinedine Zidane as their new manager following the sacking of Rafael Benitez. The Spanish manager has endured difficult time at Santiago Bernabeu and has been under a lot of pressure from his first day at helm in June.

Unable to assert discipline and control over the Real Madrid stars, Rafa Benitez was destined for doom from his day one.

Unpopular choice with players, fans and pundits alike, Benitez self-destructed ultimately, allowing Atletico Madrid to go four points clear and losing the chance to fight for Copa del Rey silverware due to an administrative error which saw Real Madrid expelled for fielding an ineligible player.

Change of atmosphere

Beloved player, colleague and outright football legend, Zinedine ZIdane has made an instant change in Real Madrid locker room.

The players relished the opportunity to start working with the man who had been in charge of Real Madrid Castilla since 2014 and who did spend a year as Carlo Ancelotti’s assistant before that.

General public and Real Madrid family revelled in the notion that Los Blancos will be led by the man who knows what it means to be a Real Madrid player, who knows how to win trophies and what it takes to be a successful professional in a demanding footballing environment.

Zidane was instant success and he oversaw his team winning the first two games in charge 5-0 and 5-1, successfully rendering his ideas to the pitch with every single Real Madrid player completely on board with what Zidane wants.

Team spirit at its best, positive atmosphere at its highest and it all seemed swell at the beginning. Still, Real Madrid is an unpredictable environment.

Rafa’s spirit lingering around?

Blinded by the enthusiasm and positive feeling about Zinedine’s appointment, Real Madrid fans forgot that Benitez’s stint started in exact fashion.

The 5-0 thrashing of Real Betis, followed by 6-0 win at Espanyol and 4-0 beating of Shakhtar in the UEFA Champions League were more than what the fans bargained for at the beginning of Benitez’s spell at Santiago Bernabeu, but Los Blancos tend to have a short-lived memory.

Rafa Benitez was never a fashionable choice and unpredictable Florentino Perez, whimsical in his decisions regarding the managerial choices, will not leave Zinedine Zidane free of scrutiny.

Zidane has had a similarly positive start to his career as did Rafa Benitez but his latest 1-1 draw at Real Betis will have been the crash landing from cloud nine for Real Madrid faithful, who have been expecting a miraculous, fairy tale beginning to their life under the French legend, who is feeling optimistic and positive at the beginning of his new life at Real Madrid an before the game against Betis.

Zidane risking his heritage?

Well aware of the challenge he accepted, Zinedine Zidane should be praised for his composure and hands-on start to his managerial career.

Albeit the most perilous place to start one’s journey, Real Madrid is at the same time the most rewarding club for an aspiring players and managers alike.

It is not a question of Zidane’s ability as it can’t be properly assessed at this point of his young career as a football manager. At the same time it makes Florentino Perez’s decision to place the destiny of his club into the inexperienced hands even more surprising.

It is more the question of putting the legendary football player’s career and legacy at stake.

If things do not work out at Real Madrid, Zinedine Zidane will have to face the possibility of putting his illustrious career in danger and losing everything he had built as a player.

Real Madrid fans are simply like that, unforgiving, demanding and intolerant and they will be quick to forget that the Frenchman has created a legacy so great with Real Madrid that no loss at Los Blancos’ bench should be able to eradicate.


Milos Markovic

Formerly a Chief Editor at the largest sports site in Serbia, Milos Markovic is an avid football writer who contributes to a variety of online football magazines - most prominently and His feature articles, editorials, interviews and match analyses have provided informed opinion and views, helping the football aficionados keep up to date on relevant events in world football.



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