Zinedine Zidane was inevitably appointed Real Madrid coach this week, and the press was quick to point out that he was the right choice and it was the right thing to do. Yes Benitez’ short reign was catastrophic to say the least but he shouldn’t have been appointed in the first place. The last sacking that should be done by Perez is that of himself, because one could imagine how things could turn out if Zizou gets the boot.
To prevent that ugly scenario, ahead of his first game tomorrow, here are five things the Madrid great must do to begin another dynasty.
ALREADY A CLUB GREAT, BUT DON’T CLASH WITH ONE.
Something Benitez could never learn. he made this mistake as early as August last year when videos emerged of him arguing with Cr7. He’s made this mistake in Inter and with this and other horrible decisions, it cost him his job.
Zidane however, is on the right path. A fan-favourite too. The first training images have shown some glee and fondness he has of his players and on Friday he said Ronaldo is “the soul” of the team and that he is “non-transferable” amid continuous reports of a move to PSG. No matter what Zizou says, those rumours will continue long into the summer; but it’s a good sign to see him come out and defend his own in his first presser. No one says be a boot licker, he doesn’t necessarily need to, but as long as his relationship stays perfect with CR7, Ramos, Marcelo and co. he should be good to go.
WIN & WIN WELL
It’s true that at the end of the day, three points is all it comes to. But at Madrid and virtually every so-called big club there has to be a style to it. Real Madrid’s best two seasons over the past five years or so brought scintillating football to the bernabeu. Those two seasons were the 2011/2012 season and the 2013/2014 season. Both seasons brought records, goals(lots), la decima, 121 goals in the league and a CR7 “Calma” at the nou camp amongst many other feats.
When Benitez thumped teams towards the end of his reign, there was still some skepticism and judgements to the triumphs and rightly so.
Zidane will have to do his best to win over an already excited and anticipated bernabeu crowd for the second time in his football-centric career with a winning style and pattern loved by both himself, the players and the Los Blancos faithful.
AVOID GUARDIOLA COMPARISONS…BUT NOT ENTIRELY
He won 14 trophies in 4 years at Barcelona so of course when their eternal rivals use the same approach, comparisons will be made. Milan used the same method twice and it backfired spectacularly, but Milan isn’t Real Madrid at least not in this era and not with the kind of players at each team’s disposal.
Yes Zidane had already dismissed the early comparisons and said he would do things his own way, which is a firm stand on his beliefs and his ideology. There is pressure for Zizou to turn things around with the same form of magic he used to have on the pitch before his retirement close to a decade ago. To do that, he must stay away from the Guardiola talk and close this bizarre Madrid season on a high note.
At the same time he shouldn’t. Guardiola is one of the greatest coaches of all time and most clubs in world football would want to have him in their dugout; evident is the fact that premier league top guns are hovering around him for his signature next season. But at some point in the season there would be the whispers of “Guardiola won x amount of games in his first few games or Guardiola lost only x amount of games in his first x clasicos”. Zidane, while not entirely taking it up to heart, should learn in his own image, how Guardiola masterminded the greatest football team in history and so should Real Madrid. If you can’t beat them, join them.
LALIGA TRUMPS CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FOR NOW
A very bold statement considering Florentino’s love for the trophy and Los Blancos’ cry for La Undecima barely 2years after the tenth. No one is saying prioritise Laliga over the Champions League or vice-versa, but the obsession over Europe’s top prize must seize for the moment. No one can match Madrid’s success in Europe or even outscore the top scorer. Even when Real Madrid were at the brink of obscurity from 2004-2010, their name as Europe’s most elite still glittered throughout the world.
Here’s the deal. Madrid are with One laliga win in seven years. SEVEN years. In this period Barca have won five. And yes 2014’s Champions league triumph was a first in 12 years. But that was the 10th. A single Liga is too huge a disappointment and given the rumble Benitez left Madrid in, one can only rely on hope as a potential 33.
Missing out on another Laliga would mean four years without one. If Zizou manages to win Laliga this season, next or both, he’d be on the right track to one of the greatest football fairytales told since Di Matteo did it for Chelsea coincidentally, back in the 11/12 season.
IT’S YOUR HOME; WIN THAT FIRST GAME
The last thing you want to do on your home debut as a manager is disappoint an impatient bernabeu crowd; worst of all is if you’re a returning club legend as is the case for Zizou. Zidane cannot afford to go back on his promise of exciting football at the bernabeu, least of all on his debut tomorrow. If God forbid it happens, questions would begin and comparisons will arise. He would be forgiven obviously but the bernabeu slaughters all that fail them, even club legends. Just look at Casillas.
But if Zizou says things would be done in his image, I’m the least bothered person at the moment. Not sure you need it, but good luck you beast.