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5 managers who could replace Zinedine Zidane at Real Madrid

Zinedine Zidane
Zinedine Zidane
ANALYST
Modified 25 Oct 2020, 00:37 IST
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Zinedine Zidane, an accomplished footballer during his playing days, took to management like a fish to water after taking over the reins of Real Madrid in January 2016.

Despite having no prior experience in senior football management and succeeding the largely unsuccessful Rafa Benitez, Zidane inspired the Merengues to a thumping 5-0 win over Deportivo La Coruna.

Ending the season with a 12-game winning run, Real Madrid halted Barcelona's 29-game unbeaten streak with a 2-1 El Clasico win at the Camp Nou. However, that was not enough to stop Barcelona from clinching the La Liga title by a solitary point.

Nevertheless, it was in Europe where Zidane's men shone like none else. Real Madrid won their 11th Champions League title in the Frenchman's first season in charge at the club and would win two more titles in the next two seasons.

In 2016-17, the Spanish capital club became the first team in the Champions League era to successfully defend their title en route to a league and European Cup double. Although Real Madrid failed to win back-to-back La Liga titles the next season, Zinedine Zidane led the club to an unprecedented three-peat in the Champions League before leaving the Santiago Bernabeu.

In the absence of the mercurial Frenchman and the club's record goalscorer Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid struggled big-time, prompting the La Liga giants to recall Zinedine Zidane.

Once again, the Frenchman made an instant impact. Madrid experienced an immediate upturn in their fortunes as they finished third to qualify for the Champions League.

In a glowing sign of his tactical nous and pedigree, Zinedine Zidane knew that in the absence of a potent goalscorer like Ronaldo, the team would need a more collective effort upfront.

With Karim Benzema rising to the challenge, Thibaut Courtois recovering from an indifferent debut campaign to win back the Madrid faithful, and captain Sergio Ramos shining at both ends of the field, Real Madrid put on an uncharacteristic defensive masterclass.

Los Blancos conceded a league-low 25 goals all season to dethrone two-time defending champions Barcelona and win a record-extending 34th La Liga title.

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5 men who could replace Zinedine Zidane at the Real Madrid helm

The belated end to the 2019-20 season and a short turnaround before the start of the next campaign has meant that Real Madrid, like most other top clubs in the continent, have made a stuttering start.

Real Madrid were goal-shy during their victorious La Liga campaign last season, something that hasn't changed in 2020-21. But their defence, which has been eulogised for its solidity, has turned out to be far more fallible this campaign.

For all their new-found defensive prowess, Real Madrid stumbled against newly-promoted Cadiz before enduring another home defeat to an undermanned Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League.

The sequence of results is certainly disconcerting, and the alarm bells must have rung in the corridors of power at the Santiago Bernabeu, where patience is a notoriously rare virtue.

Real Madrid might have rediscovered their mojo in the first El Clasico of the season away at Camp Nou, but Zinedine Zidane, the man with the Midas touch, might have his days numbered if his team struggles for consistency.

In the aftermath of a 3-1 win at Barcelona, Zidane is unlikely to face the sack in the immediate future. But such an eventuality cannot be completely ruled out as stranger things have happened in football, especially at Real Madrid.

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On that note, let us have a look at five men, in no particular order, who could replace Zinedine Zidane at the Real Madrid helm if the Frenchman is relieved of his duties.


#1 Raul

Raul
Raul

Raul Gonzalez, more commonly known by his first name, is one of the most decorated players in the history of Real Madrid.

During his 16-year stint at the Santiago Bernabeu, the striker became the all-time goalscorer and appearance-maker for Real Madrid before leading the club's youth team to the title in the UEFA Youth League last season.

Raul, who is aware of the unique demands and challenges at the club, could be a decent and ready-made substitute for the Frenchman if Real Madrid decide to part ways with Zinedine Zidane.

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Despite his inexperience in senior club management, the legendary striker has the wherewithal to excel at the helm of one of the most famous football clubs in the world.


#2 Massimiliano Allegri

Massimiliano Allegri
Massimiliano Allegri

Massimiliano Allegri has one of the most impressive managerial resumes in the club football game.

The 53-year-old Italian, who is renowned for his tactical versatility and intelligence, delivered five consecutive Serie A titles during a hugely successful stint at Juventus, whom he also led to two Champions League finals.

However, the inability of the former player to help the Bianconeri conquer the European stage led to him facing the sack at the end of the 2018-19 season.

Allegri, who is currently without a job, is being courted by a bevvy of top clubs in the continent like Chelsea, Manchester United and Paris St. Germain. Though he has not yet managed a team outside his native Italy, the former Juventus gaffer has the experience of managing a big team on the grandest of stages.

That makes Allegri an ideal choice for the Real Madrid top job if Zinedine Zidane is relieved of his duties.

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Published 25 Oct 2020, 00:37 IST
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