Just this month, Zidane has once again confirmed his status as one of the strongest coaches, beating Liverpool in the Champions League, and then celebrating the victory in clasico over Barcelona. These victories are surprising, though they shouldn’t. All the Frenchman did was continue to win when it matters most. And still we do not put him on the same line with Jurgen Klopp, Pep Guardiola and Mauricio Pochettino.
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In order to evaluate Zidane the coach, you need to think about who Real Madrid is looking for when thinking about a new specialist. The Spaniards do not need a coach who will work on a new club history for a long time – these are the tasks of Klopp or Guardiola. No, President Florentin Perez needs someone who gets results as quickly as possible.
His predecessor, Rafael Benitez, only lasted seven months. Yulen Lopetegi – four and a half months. Just think about which rope Zidane walked all this time.
The first thing the ex-midfielder did after taking office was to assess the level of his new team. In his work, he used the principles of Carlo Ancelotti, who always said that no matter how good tactics are, nothing can be achieved without good relations with the players.
Zidane gives freedom to his players, and his teams never seem too enslaved. He loves to play straightforwardly because he realizes that “the Bernabeu will not understand a thousand passes without a single hit.” Some might say that a top coach doesn’t care about that, but this style is paying off – especially in the Champions League. Zidane always studies the opponent and treats the subsequent game as a final.
Maybe if he weren’t already a great player, we would have appreciated his coaching achievements more. His semi-final partner Thomas Tuchel could not boast of an outstanding career, while his colleagues Diego Simeone, Antonio Conte and Jurgen Klopp were not attacking players. Even France coach Didier Deschamps could only envy the technique of the 1998 Golden Ball winner.
Zidane was so good when he was a player that we still can’t tell the difference between a coach and a footballer. But recent results make it clear that it’s time to give credit not to who he was, but who he is. And if at the end of this season, Real Madrid celebrate a victory at home or in Europe, then everyone will finally have to recognize who made it possible.