Can Zinedine Zidane Succeed at Real Madrid?
Sir Alex Fergurson once famously said, "Give me 10 pieces of wood, and Zinedine Zidane, and I'll win you the Champions League.” It doesn't seem like very long since Zinedine Zidane was dancing his way through defences of the most competent and organised teams in Europe. And yet, it has been 10 years, since he played his last professional match - the FIFA World Cup Final 2006.
Fast forward to January 2016, and the former French Captain has been appointed as manager of Real Madrid. A team he achieved great heights with as a player. Yes, he was one of the best ever Galácticos.
But with Rafael Benitez's departure, Zidane has been assigned an ominous responsibility. At his first senior managerial appointment, he is the one who has been given the task of making Real Madrid meet the high threshold of expectations that always goes synonymously with their household name in European football.
For starters, Zidane must make a more-than-capable uninspired squad of megastars. It has been 3 seasons since Real Madrid last won the La Liga title. An unacceptable occurrence by their standards. To ensure the longevity and prosperity of his regime at the club, Zizou will have to win the La Liga this time.
For we all must remember that despite delivering the Decima, Ancelotti was certainly laid off primarily because of his inability to win the League title for the Los Blancos.
It will be interesting to see what Zidane’s policy with transfers will be like.
While Florentino Perez always has a major say in Real Madrid's exorbitant transfers, it will be interesting to watch how Zidane as a manager asserts his influence on who he wants in his team. As a player, Zidane was always on the conservative side as far as transfers were concerned, notably criticising Real's sale of Claude Makelele to make way for David Beckham, back in the first Galácticos era.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, it is necessary for Zidane to deliver almost immediate results. With the club already out of the Copa Del Rey for a technical violation, and the lead in the La Liga gradually slipping away, Zidane has a lot of work to do. Accommodating players like James Rodriguez and Isco will also be key, after their troubled relationships with Benitez. Deciding the futures of the gradually ageing Cristiano Ronaldo, and Gareth Bale, are also thrust onto his plate. And of course, how can one forget that the Champions League is still a prospect this season.
Only time can tell whether Zidane will deliver the desired results, and his inexperience in the managerial seat might scare some. It is time for the Los Blancos to put some faith in one of their beloved Galácticos and hope that he can guide them back to the glory days they have always enjoyed.