Wednesday, 13 January 2016 00:00

Can Zidane be as good manager as a player

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Zinadine Zidane Manager Zinadine Zidane Manager

This was one of the worst kept secrets in World football. When Rafael Benitez was sacked by Real Madrid and Zinedine Zidane was announced as his successor, it was something that was waiting to happen. After the capital side drew with Valencia on Sunday, the writing was on the wall and when an emergency meeting was called by club president Florentino Perez, it was a mere formality that Benitez would be on his way.

The French legend was a big fan-favorite during his playing days at the Santiago Bernebeu. Zidane was in charge of the B-team and would step up to take control of the first team – until at least the end of the current season. There was considerable pressure on Real and Benitez for several weeks with the club trailing local rivals Atletico and fierce rivals Barcelona.


As such, the short reign of Benitez has been nothing short of drama with several reports of star players failing to buy into his methods. The crowd even jeered his name and some of his replacement decisions at the Bernebeu. In fact, even during the pre-season there were talks of calling upon Zidane to take over the first team but it didn’t materialize at that time.

Can Zidane pull-off this gamble? Undoubtedly, he will have the star quality to demand and command authority in the dressing room. He will also garner huge backing of the supporters – something which Benitez could never get and was roundly booed and whistled many times. But the fact that he hasn’t done anything noteworthy with the B-team weighs heavily against him. The management will hope that the two jobs are different in nature and the disposal of a star-studded team will help Zidane unlock his managerial potential.

What his appointment definitely does is to calm the nerves in the dressing room. Ronaldo, Benzema, Varane and Ramos enjoy a great equation with Zidane and would be eager to work with him. Not many were comfortable with Benitez and Zidane would at least not have any detractors within the dressing room. James and Isco haven’t been involved as much as they would have liked – for different reasons of friction with Benitez. Needless to say, they would hope to play bigger part under the new manager.

Zidane would like to build his reputation but will also be wary of the sack-friendly Perez. Such a volatile management can work against the squad but Zidane would hope that he can effectively transform the squad just like he did as a player. A huge challenge for Zidane to prove that he is the ‘real deal’ awaits him in the dugout. Can he mount this latest challenge and prove his worth?

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