5 things Zinedine Zidane got right for Real Madrid in the 2016/17 season
The Frenchman could lift the UEFA Champions League and La Liga this season
16 months into his managerial career, Zinedine Zidane could very well have two UEFA Champions League trophies, one La Liga title, one UEFA Supercup and the FIFA Club World Cup to his name. Real Madrid’s iconic boss has been described as ‘lucky’ by his detractors, but the Frenchman is on the verge of history – with Madrid’s next 90 minutes about to decide his destiny.
Even if Real Madrid miss out on the UEFA Champions League, you cannot take away from what has been an excellent season by Los Blancos. Zidane has overseen his side break the all-time unbeaten record of a Spanish team, while also breaking another record of consecutive goals scored in all competitions.
Here are 5 things Zidane has gotten right this season:
#1 Managing an aging Ronaldo
Time and tide wait for no man but try telling Cristiano Ronaldo that. Even at the age of 32, the Madrid talisman has been enjoying one of his best seasons, despite missing the start of the season with an injury. If Ronaldo does end up winning his 5th Ballon d'Or, Zinedine Zidane deserves a large part of the credit.
The Portuguese superstar has always thrown strops whenever substituted, but this season had seen him accept his destiny whenever the board went up with his number on the touchline. Zidane has the aura to protect Ronaldo from himself - unleashing him in crunch games, while resting the Portuguese star against La Liga's minnows.
The Frenchman has even spared Ronaldo away trips as the season comes to an end - prior to the game against Celta Vigo, Ronaldo had been rested for four away games against Leganes, Gijon, Deportivo la Coruna and Granada, leaving him fresh for the business end of the season. The Portuguese star has responded, with crucial goals against Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid and Sevilla, taking his tally to 39 goals for the season.
He’s played 729 fewer minutes this season, but if Cristiano Ronaldo walks away with a historic League and European Cup double, it was all worth it.