At one point there were legitimate concerns over Zinedine Zidane’s suitability to lead Real Madrid as their manager. Before he took the position in January of 2016, he’d never coached at the club level, and his only experience as a tactician was a year and a half as coach of Real Madrid’s B team, Real Madrid Castilla. Fast forward to today, and now he’s got more trophies than he does losses.
Under Zinedine Zidane, Madrid have won Champions League, the UEFA Super Cup, and the FIFA Club World Cup. Even more impressive, they’re currently on a 37-match unbeaten streak stretching all the way back to April of 2016, when they lost to VfL Wolfsburg in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final tie.
Zizou lost two matches in his first three months of management, and he hasn’t done it again since.
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Under Zidane, Madrid have played a progressive, flexible style, and he’s made the Merengues a true meritocracy. They may have spent €80 million on James Rodriguez, but the French legend has placed his faith in tiny Lucas Vazquez far more often than he has the flashy Colombian, and Spain international Isco to boot.
Now, Madrid are officially world champions, they’re top of La Liga, through to the Champions League knockout rounds, and they even just had their transfer ban halved. They’re riding high, and in large part it’s down to the manager with no real managerial experience.
Great players don’t always make great managers. More often than not, they don’t even make good managers. With Zinedine Zidane though, we’re seeing the very rare case of a true legend on the pitch making the successful transition to the sideline. 2017 promises to be a special one for Zizou and his side.