Top 5 highlights in Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid stint
Zinedine Zidane announced his shock departure as Real Madrid in an impromptu press conference he called for this afternoon. Despite winning three consecutive Champions League titles, Real performed abysmally in the La Liga, finishing third behind both Barcelona and Atletico Madrid.
With their inability to defend the La Liga title, there were rumours that Real President Florentino Perez might look to replace Zidane and though his job looked secure with the most recent Champions League win, Zidane bowed out just five days after the historic feat.
He came in as a manager who had no experience of managing a top-flight club and leaves as a legend. In just over two and a half years of managing Real, he has stamped his authority and created a legacy which will be tough to uphold for anyone who is brought in to replace him.
The last manager to create such an immediate impact was another bald genius, a guy who goes by the name of Pep Guardiola, who won a host of trophies with rivals Barcelona. But even he could not do what Zidane has done with this Madrid team. Perez's impatience can be cited as the only reason he resigned despite being seemingly the best man to lead Real in the coming years.
Here, we look at the top moments in his two and a half-year spell as manager in the Spanish capital:
#1 Wins first El Clasico as manager
Zidane had been manager of Real Madrid’s B team, Castilla and was being groomed for the ultimate job in a few years’ time. But Rafael Benitez’s tenure did not go as planned and Zidane was thrust into the job in the middle of the January transfer window.
The first important match in his career came against Barcelona on 2nd April 2016. They were on a record 39-match unbeaten streak and considering that it was his first El Clasico as manager, Zidane could be forgiven for being overwhelmed by the occasion.
But he was unfazed. He put his best XI out there in a 4-3-3 formation. Though Barcelona took the lead through Gerard Pique in the 56th minute, Real rallied, equalizing through Benzema with Ronaldo sealing victory with an 85th-minute winner.
The tie was marred by a usual Ramos red card but no one cared. Zidane became the first manager since Bernd Schuster to win his first El Clasico and announced his managerial credentials in style.