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Zinedine Zidane – The Second Coming

Zinedine Zidane

Some people are of the opinion you should never go back. Zinedine Zidane is clearly not one of them. One of the best players of all time, Zidane has also proven himself a fantastic manager, having guided Real Madrid to three consecutive Champions League titles. However, Zidane took the decision to walk away from the Bernabéu at the height of his success, citing a ‘need for change’ at the football club. That decision was however short lived, and following a run of poor results under Julen Lopetegui and Santiago Solari, Zidane was back at the helm. Fortunately for the Real Madrid hierarchy, Zinedine had taken some time out rather than a management position elsewhere, which meant he was willing and able to return as Los Vikingos boss.

Zinedine Zidane’s managerial career got off to the best of starts, but despite the success he was never fully accepted by fans or given the credit he deserved from pundits. The Frenchman has a record to match any coach in the history of Real Madrid, and yet he appeared to be unappreciated to some extent during his initial tenure. During Zidane’s sabbatical, it became clear what he had achieved, and exactly how difficult the Real Madrid job is to undertake. Julen Lopetegui’s return of just 6 victories during 14 matches in charge, coupled with the manner of some of those defeats was simply not good enough for a club the stature of Real Madrid. Off the back of what was one of the most successful periods in the club’s history, Madrid endured one of their worst slumps of recent times. Santiago Solari did steady the ship somewhat, but didn’t do enough to secure the position of manager on a long term basis. Not that many who take up the Real Madrid hot seat are ever ‘long term!’

While there is clearly a lot of work for Zidane to do based on his current crop of players, the arrival of Eden Hazard is a massive positive for the Frenchman. While Zidane has admitted that Gareth Bale isn’t a part of his plans going forward and is likely to be moved on, Hazard will likely be the player that the team is built around. There have been a number of rumours linking Real with a move for PSG’s Neymar, with Gareth Bale going in the opposite direction. For now however, rumours is all they are. It is going to be near impossible for Zinedine Zidane to emulate what he achieved in his first spell as Real Madrid manager, but he appears the best man for the job and it will be interesting to see exactly what the coming season holds for the football club.