The story of Real Madrid won’t be complete if you don’t include Zinedine Zidane in it.
The older football fans will remember him more as a top quality midfielder and the younger ones may know him as an established manager. But either way, he’ll be forever associated with Real Madrid in La Liga.
The Frenchman not only is regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, he’s also known as one of the best managers ever if you’ll look at his extensive CV.
Although my SBOTOP colleague didn’t have him in his Real Madrid’s best players list, Zizou has left an indelible mark with the club and his Los Blancos story will be remembered fondly by the Madridistas in generations to come.
Zinedine Zidane is a certified winner
Winning trophies has become synonymous to Zinedine Zidane’s career both as a player and as a manager.
During his heyday, the Frenchman has won two Serie A titles with Juventus, one La Liga title and one Champions League title with Real Madrid, along with one Ballon D’Or award in the 1998 season.
As a manager, Zidane has won 11 trophies across two spells with Real Madrid. All in all, he has steered Los Blancos to 172 victories out of the 263 games he coached.
Upon being appointed as Los Blancos boss to replace Rafa Benitez in 2016, Zidane showed off his winning pedigree by piloting Madrid to a three-peat in the Champions League, as well as a La Liga trophy in the 2016/17 season.
But for some reason after completing their UCL three-peat, Zidane declared his sudden departure – citing that he was “worn out” and that the team needs to rebuild without him at the helm.
That announcement left Los Blancos in shock and they were left scrambling. And unfortunately for them, Zidane’s replacements in Julen Lopetegui and Santiago Solari didn’t pan out well which led to his return in 2019.
Tumultuous last dance with Real Madrid
Real Madrid got back on the winning track when Zinedine Zidane returned as they brought home another La Liga trophy during the atypical 2019/20 season. But in the following term, the idea of leaving began to talk shape once more.
When Real Madrid had lost to Shakhtar Donetsk in their UCL group stage match last December, they were on the brink of elimination with Borussia Monchengladbach as their next opponent.
There were speculations that Florentino Perez considered sacking his manager at the time, and that surely affected Zinedine Zidane to a large degree.
The Frenchman always took the outside noise by the chin since he was a consummate professional, but the constant rumours and criticism bothered him to a point that his mind was already made up.
Regardless, Zinedine Zidane continued to right the ship for Los Blancos despite not being backed by the La Liga 2021 odds.
Real Madrid were within striking distance and had one more chance to steal away the trophy up until the penultimate matchday, but Atletico Madrid’s win over Valladolid effectively sealed their fate.
Unlike in 2018 to when he left on a good note, Real Madrid were left empty-handed in Zinedine Zidane’s final term with the club, which marks the first time that It happened since 2009/10.
What’s next for Zizou?
If there’s one person who has earned the right to walk away, it’s Zinedine Zidane. The Frenchman has given all he’s got and the club got tangible results with the trophies that followed.
Florentino Perez and co. have a huge summer ahead of them since they need to overhaul their roster with younger foundational pieces.
According to the latest La Liga 2021 news, they are reportedly listening to offers on players like Eden Hazard, Luka Jovic, and Gareth Bale amid their continued interest in Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland.
As far as their managerial search is concerned, Real Madrid had Massimiliano Allegri in mind to replace Zinedine Zidane but he has already committed to go back to Juventus. As of the moment, Antonio Conte, Mauricio Pochettino, and Raul are left as the possible candidates.
In his mind, Zinedine Zidane is walking away in his own terms as Real Madrid’s hero, and he would prefer to leave it at that instead of living long enough to become the villain.
Well, that is if things don’t go sour for his replacement because everyone knows that he’s always going to be just a phone call away.
VISIT OUR BLOG TO GET YOUR FIX FOR ALL OF THE MOST CURRENT FOOTBALL NEWS STORIES & FEATURES