The French footballing legend was promoted to the post of the manager of the first team, replacing Rafael Benitez who was in charge for less than six months. Zidane, who became the coach of Real Madrid Castilla only in the summer of 2015, is now in charge at the Santiago Bernabeu.
After retirement, Zidane has been involved with football in many ways. His first taste of formal administration came when he became part of the Real Madrid team as Special Advisor at the then manager Jose Mourinho‚Äôs request. He became the Sporting Director and assistant to Carlo Ancelotti before he took over Madrid‚Äôs ‚ÄėB‚Äô team. He may not have the coaching badges or experience, but has been associated with enough top-level players and coaches in different countries to have picked up sufficient knowledge.¬
We look at why he could just be what the Los Merengues need.
Zizou was an attacking midfielder and was known for his exquisite ball control, silky skills, delightful dribbling and excellent vision. Great on the eye, he had the ability to shoot accurately and powerfully with either foot. Rounding it off was a fantastic aerial ability, making him one of the most complete footballers of the modern era. Given the way he played his game, it will be safe to say that Zidane will certainly impart the brand of football that the players want to play and also the fans want to see!
PASSION FOR THE GAME
The Frenchman of Algerian descent has unbridled passion for the game. This has resulted him in getting into the referee‚Äôs books for the wrong reasons many times with the infamous head-butt in the 2006 FIFA World Cup final coming to mind instantly. Real‚Äôs players better watch out for that temper!
RISING TO THE OCCASION
His legend status has roots in his ability to rise above the crowd when it mattered the most. His contributions in crucial matches have become part of folklore. Three FIFA World Player of the Year awards, 1998 FIFA World Cup final against Brazil, brilliance at Euro 2000, the extraordinary goal in the 2002 Champions League final, his performances at the 2006 FIFA World Cup finals are some highlights. As a player, he has been there and won it all for club and country, an experience that could be vital to Real Madrid‚Äôs quest in the time ahead.
Zidane retired after France‚Äôs quarterfinal defeat at the hands of eventual champions Greece. The national side struggled with qualification to the 2006 FIFA World Cup finals after a host of retirements. Manager Raymond Domenech looked to Zizou to turn things around. He returned as captain and helped France secure a place in the World Cup. "In France, everybody realised that God exists and that he is back in the French international team,‚ÄĚ Thierry Henry, himself a star, said. ‚ÄúGod is back, there is little left to say". Zidane led from the front, with a vintage performance against Brazil in the quarterfinals being the standout. He scored in the final as well and it was a pity he ended it the way he did! Nevertheless, he was awarded the Golden Ball for being the Player of the World Cup Finals.
A GIANT OF MODERN FOOTBALL
The name Zinedine Zidane commands tremendous respect in footballing circles and is admired by players across different generations. "Zidane is one of the greatest players in history, a truly magnificent player," German legend Franz Beckenbauer said. His former coach Marcello Lippi believed Zidane was the greatest talent France has known in two decades and he never played prima donna. Former Real Madrid teammate and Brazilian defender, Roberto Carlos recalled that supporters arrived earlier at the Bernab√©u just to see Zizou warm-up.
There is no denying his stature as a player and football fans are waiting with bated breath for the legend to begin a new chapter in a much-celebrated career. The romantics have already begun fantasising.¬