Zidane leaves: Testing times ahead for Real Madrid
The big news was out on Thursday. Zinedine Zidane resigned as the Real Madrid manager, leaving the club in more or less a confused state. Zidane led the club through one of its more glorious years. Winning nine trophies in just 2 and a half years in charge of the first club.
A round of applause at the end of his final press conference was a testament to the way the former player carried himself during his time at the club. Quiet yet effective, his man-management made up for whatever negative there was said about him from a tactical aspect. Managing a team of stars is not easy. Especially at a place where even experienced pros like Mourinho and Ancelotti have struggled in the past. Zidane did it in an almost nonchalant way. Creating a legacy in the process.
The timing of the resignation though has been a major blow to everyone at club level. To be fair to Zidane, he did hint at it back in February but no one really thought that the French manager would actually go through with it. With the resignation, Zidane might have safeguarded his legacy as the manager of Real Madrid but has invariably led the club into a summer of uncertainties.
It was just moments after the Champions League win that possible transfer bombshells were dropped by Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale. Two players who’ve been vital in Madrid’s four Champions League titles in the last five years. Five days on from that Champions League night in Kiev, its Zidane who’s resigned from his managerial post at the club, arguably the biggest jolt of them all.
It is rare to find a manager who not only understands the club but also carries a demeanour and a personality that is respected by everyone at the club. The search for a new manager would have started already, perhaps the most challenging managerial search the club has been involved in recent years.
A manager at Madrid is usually required to live up to the billing. The history, the trophies, the triumphant nights at the Bernabeu. With Zidane’s departure, it gets difficult for the incoming manager. Zidane’s aura, the impression he left on the club, the players, the calm persona, the way he carried and organised this team and made this star-studded lineup into a proper team. As Toni Kroos said after the Champions League win in Cardiff in 2017 “We are together, on and off the pitch”.
Carrying forward something like that at a club like Real Madrid, which has for a long time been basically starved of such love between the board, the manager, and the players. The new manager might or might not get the same love from the fans, might or might not get the same respect from the players. Whatever the case, the pressure would be immense. More than what a Mourinho or an Ancelotti would’ve faced during their initial days.
Add to it the uncertain transfer futures of the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale, the club, looks like being in for a busy summer. The average age of the squad that started in Kiev was 29, which one might believe is not suitable for a new manager coming in. If Real Madrid ought to find a long-term solution, the manager would need a younger side to implement his vision and ideas. One can’t help but imagine a squad overhaul taking place at Real Madrid in the coming seasons. Something that is highly likely to commence in the coming summer itself.
The biggest managerial job in the world, add to it arguably the biggest squad re-building job in the footballing world. A rebuilding phase which could the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale gone. A massive job for the manager and an even bigger job for the board, looking for the new manager. The board who’ve been thrown in the area of uncertainty by Zidane’s resignation. There’s a lot that can happen at Real Madrid this summer and almost a certainty that a lot will happen at the club.
The question remains as to how the club will handle the situation. A situation that could well end up in implosion by a few incorrect decisions and possibly ruin a legacy. Testing times up ahead for the Royalty club from the Spanish Capital, a club who usually get who they want and are not known to be down for long. An interesting summer of transfers ahead for the Madridistas!