Real Madrid have terminated the contract of manager Rafa Benitez and have appointed club and French legend Zinedine Zidane as the new manager of the club.
Benitez’s unhappy run at the club has come to an end just 25 games at the helm of the Spanish giant.
Madrid, who have lost some of their aura since their 2014 World Club Championship win are in need of a long-term manager who can make his squad believe again.
Unfortunately three managers tasked with overhauling the side and bringing in younger players have met their demise after upsetting the senior players within the Real Madrid squad.
Jose Mourinho’s name had been linked with a return to the club following his departure from Madrid, but he like Benitez upset extremely influential senior players and was made a scapegoat despite winning Madrid’s first title in three seasons in 2011/12.
Zidane, who played 155 times for the club, is one of the most beloved figures in the club’s history and will be afforded a level of patience and support by players, fans and club officials alike.
It has been said that being a good player doesn’t necessarily equate to being a good coach, but in Zidane’s case, he was far more than simply a good player, as he was one of the generation’s best.
Despite his brilliance at monster clubs such as Madrid and Juventus, and his 100 plus caps for France, Zidane’s appointment at arguably the largest club in the world is a risky one to say the least.
He does have experience in the set up as assistant manager and then at the helm of Real Madrid’s reserve team, but is yet to take charge of a game at the highest level.
Real Madrid’s head managerial role is arguably the most pressure intense job in the profession, although Roman Abramovich’s tendency to pull the trigger at the first sign of trouble, has made Chelsea hot seat a genuine threat.
Since 2003 Real Madrid have parted ways with 12 managers including the likes of Mourinho, Ancelotti, Pellegrini and Capello.
The four managers listed above are four of the most respected managers of the modern era and all had hundreds of games experience as a top-line manager under their belts.
Zidane has zero.
Zidane will likely have the respect of the entire squad the moment he walks into the change room.
He is a club legend and knows how to win. His love and passion for the jersey will surely shine through.
Will he be given the support needed to overhaul the squad?
I don’t imagine he would have taken the job if he wasn’t guaranteed the board’s backing in making some much needed tough decisions, but player power has undone the past three managers.
Zidane won’t have any experience to draw on if the likes of Ronaldo, Isco or Bale are unable to find top form, as will all due respect to the Madrid B side, he would never have dealt closely with players of their abilities or egos.
He will have the advantage of being close to most of the playing squad having been assistant coach, but there is far more pressure and accountability in the top job.
Madrid have taken a huge risk in appointing a rookie manager, no matter how excellent his achievements as a player may be.
Gareth Bale, who signed for the club less than three seasons ago, is dealing with his third first team manager already.
Madrid have not won the domestic title since 2011/12, something that is unforgivable given the size of the club and the price spend on assembling the squad.
They sit four points behind lead leaders Atletico, and two points behind arch rivals Barcelona.
Zidane is going to have to produce something special, and quickly, before Madrid lose touch.
Four points might not seem like a huge margin but neither Atletico nor Barca are likely to lose too many games.
To say there is plenty of talent in this Madrid squad is a huge understatement, but whether or not the inexperienced Zidane is the man to bring out the best in that talented squad is the (hundreds of) million dollar question.