Zidane’s appointment will delight most Real Madrid supporters, not only due to the untouchable level of popularity that his legendary status at this club brings with it but also due to the immense hatred that they had for Rafael Benitez. Benitez was appointed, it is as clear as a sunny day now, without the consent of most Madrid fans, as well as some of the senior players.
Perez was taking on a gamble that he had to get right. If the football wasn’t entertaining the fans, then he would be in big trouble. It was, as we all found out, a gamble that he lost. Why he felt that he needed to dismiss Ancelotti even when the players publicly voiced their opinions in his support remains a question that only he can answer. But, the main question is, can Zidane, a fan favorite, bring the club European glory? Or will this appointment have the same outcome as Ruud Gullit a decade ago? These are questions that will depend on whether we see ‘Zidane the manager’ vs. ‘Zidane the player’, as both have entirely different mentalities when it comes to football.
Zidane’s playing career in Madrid was sensational. There’s absolutely no doubt about it. This, actually, made him a fan favorite, as he was part of a group of players that were, and still are, the true galacticos. This team was full of legendary players with unmatched talent and ability compared to any other club in the world other than, perhaps, Barcelona, at that time.
This resulted in a trophy-laden career for Zidane during his stay at Madrid, and he was part of a team of champions. And this is the mentality that he needs to bring if he wants to become successful as a Real Madrid manager.
On the other hand, even though Zidane was perhaps the best midfielder in the world during his prime, he was also well-known for his aggression and his lack of self-control at the most pivotal moments. The most well-known example is when he head-butted Materazzi in the World Cup final in ’98. There were also other notable events, but we’re not going to get into that. The point is, he lost his cool way too often and got himself sent off, sometimes at the most crucial of times. This will be the mentality that he brings in if he portrays himself as the legendary Real Madrid player that he was. It will not bode well with some of the Real Madrid players, especially Cristiano Ronaldo, who is also well known for his arrogance and ego. And you don’t want to get on the wrong side of Ronaldo.
If Zidane wants to be successful as Real Madrid manager, then he needs to learn how to handle all these egos in the same dressing room, not revamp memories of his egomaniacal former self. He needs to provide the confidence that these Madrid players need that he has an abundant amount of, I’m sure, from his trophy-laden career that he had. He also needs to increase the team cohesiveness and understanding between the players. These players have the quality to beat anyone on any giving day. Zidane just needs to get on the good side of them and make sure they play as a team. The rest will follow.