Can Ole Gunnar Solskjaer be Manchester United’s version of Zidane?

Manchester United v Watford FC - Premier League
Manchester United v Watford FC - Premier League
Vishal Rathi

Manchester United finally cleared the air regarding the club’s next manager when they appointed their caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as the permanent manager of the club. Zinedine Zidane was another person who was tipped heavily to land the job at Old Trafford; but now Ole is at the wheel on the permanent basis, parallels are being drawn between his appointment at Manchester United and Zidane’s at Real Madrid in 2016.

Manchester United began their 2018-19 campaign in stuttering fashion under former manager Jose Mourinho, his pragmatic style and tactics bought frustration at Old Trafford that alienated star players at the club.

Similarly, in 2015/16 season, Real Madrid began their campaign with Rafael Benitez at the helm. The Spaniard was never going to succeed at the Bernabeu with his defensive, and eventually, Benitez got sacked from the club.

Solskjaer and Zidane were the managers to replace their adversaries at their respective clubs on the interim basis, so their appointments boast apparent parallels.

Both managers lifted the mood at their respective clubs, brought a feel-good factor, and instilled the confidence and belief back into their players on the pitch. Real Madrid rewarded Zidane for his instant success with a permanent appointment, and now, Solskjaer finds himself in a similar position after being appointed as the permanent manager at the Manchester United.

As the air of positivity is back at Old Trafford once again, now one question is doing rounds in football circles. Do the Red Devils have their own version of Zinedine Zidane in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer?

Real Madrid CF v SD Huesca - La Liga
Real Madrid CF v SD Huesca - La Liga

However, it would be an astronomical and unrealistic task for the smiling ‘baby-faced assassin’ to emulate Zidane’s success at Manchester United as Zidane already had a squad filled with numerous superstars including a certain Cristiano Ronaldo. However, there is no doubt that Ole can turn Manchester United to a force to reckon with and bring the fear factor back to Old Trafford once again.

Both Zidane and Solskjaer are legends at their respective clubs, so their aura instantly demands respect from the current players. Solskjaer like Zidane also can manage the superstars and their egos in the dressing room. He is not even afraid to give infamous hair-dryer treatment of Sir Alex Ferguson. No player is bigger than the club, and he has already made it very clear to the squad.

Just like Zidane did, Solskjaer appears to teach the players about the clubs rich tradition and culture. He has reminded the players about the value of playing for the badge. Ole is unlocking the full potential of the squad at his disposal which has turned the fortunes at the club. 

The Manchester United team is finally playing football in United’s way. Attacking football is back at the Old Trafford, players are enjoying their game, and much to fans pleasure old swagger is coming back to the club.

If Solskjaer can bring the silverware back to the club and turn United into a dominating force in Europe too then, there will be no doubt that Manchester United will be having their version of Zidane in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

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Edited by Aaditya Narayan
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