Zinedine Zidane: The French Icon Faces a Stern Test with the Los Blancos

Connect in the back of the net

The sacking of Rafa Benitez a little over a week ago came as little surprise. The fans and players alike seemed to have lost faith with the former Liverpool and Valencia coach in the weeks leading up his dismissal. With the swift appointment of former great Zinedine Zidane, the theatre that Real Madrid has become looks set to continue.

It is far from an unforeseen scenario with Zidane having assisted Carlo Ancelotti during his spell and coaching the Castilla team. What it has provided the team with though is a little time.

Unfortunately for Benitez the demand for success simply proved too much for him and whilst Real would be seriously disappointed not to compete for major honours in a couple of months it looks unlikely at the moment.

Not that their form has been bad, or that some of their star players are not putting in enough telling contributions but they don’t seem like a functioning team.

The issue of Cristiano Ronaldo’s future looms large on the club and with him approaching his 31st birthday a long term decision needs to be taken sooner rather than later.

However, selling a player who averages over a goal a game would require a lot of bravery and a wonderful stellar signing to replace him.


Can he emulate Guardiola?

In 2008 Madrid’s most bitter rivals, Barcelona, appointed a former great to hopefully inspire a revival of fortunes. As history will forever show us his success was beyond even the most ardent dreams of the supporters and they remain at the pinnacle of European football almost a decade later.

Expecting Zidane to do repeat that fact seems unlikely, but like Guardiola he has become a student of the game and will no doubt express some of the flair everyone saw on the pitch instilled in his side.

What the club clearly desire though is a return to entertaining football. Benitez has taken some overly harsh criticism regarding his tenure but when your side consists of players like Benzema, Kroos and Ronaldo it seems foolish to think they could be dull to watch.

What the fans want though is success and certainly a domestic league title has become a priority. Since Guardiola took control of Barcelona, Los Blancos have managed one solitary Primera title.


Needs time to adjust

It remains to be seen what Zidane’s vision of football is but one would certainly like to think it might resemble his playing career; creative, exciting and certainly unpredictable. He will need time to adjust to his new job but having played for the club he knows the expectations and demands on his players.

The club are only four points from the summit of the league as it stands (Barcelona have a game in hand and can extend it to five if they win their game in hand) and they are still in the Champions League.

The season is far from over and if Zidane can get his message across quickly then the next few months could be very interesting.


A few tweaks and he could prove a success

Being a former great is no guarantee of success in management but it can prepare you for the challenges ahead. Knowing the club, the staff and the facilities as he does he already has a major advantage.

He has a very capable squad and with just a few little tweaks he could be exactly what the club needs.


Written by Andy Hunter

Follow Andy on Twitter @hunter67980

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