Zinedine Zidane’s feats as Real Madrid manager may outshine his glittering playing career

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Updated: June 10, 2017
Real Madrid

For many the transition from player to manager is a rocky journey, and more often than not an unsuccessful one. However, just days after helping Real Madrid to become the first team in history to retain the UEFA Champions League, Zinedine Zidane has truly written himself into the managerial record books of the Galacticos.

He has now proven himself both as a player and a coach, but can the Frenchman truly be regarded as one of the best managers in the world, or is the dominating success of Madrid purely down to his talented team of superstars instead?

As a player Zidane was arguably one of the greatest midfielders of the modern generation, taking to the turf numerous times for Juventus, Real Madrid, and France. A creative attacking force with an exceptional eye for goal, Zidane boasts an incredible trophy cabinet having won a number of domestic, European, and international honours. But now as manager of Real, the Frenchman’s coaching career is already starting to outperform his playing one.

After retiring from football in 2006 following France’s defeat in the World Cup final by Italy, Zidane announced he would take a break from football. He eventually returned to Madrid in 2010 – where he was announced as a special advisor to the first team before becoming assistant coach under Carlo Ancelotti in 2013. From there his coaching career took off and after a spell as Real’s Castilla manager in 2014, Zidane was handed the reins as first-team manager on January 4, 2016 following the departure of Rafa Benitez.

During his first season in charge, Zidane led Real to another Champions League success, becoming the first ever French manager to do so. After his triumph of retaining the trophy with the Spanish side at the beginning of the month, along with winning La Liga for the first time since 2012, Zidane has firmly established amongst the elite managers within the footballing world.

Under Benitez, Real’s footballing philosophy was extremely defensive and frequently dull to watch. However, with Zidane in charge this Madrid side plays a flowing attacking style of football that you associate with their great sides. Not only is it entertaining but it’s also extremely devastating as teams struggle to deal with the threat of the Galacticos.

But despite the immense success he has accumulated as a manager within such a short space of time, Zidane’s coaching ability to reinvent Cristiano Ronaldo from a winger to a centre forward must be recognised as one of his most brilliant transformations. Despite being at the pinnacle of athleticism, at the age of 32 Ronaldo’s form on the wing began to dip. But now being deployed as a centre forward for Real, it appears the Portuguese star has found a renewed lease of life as he ended the campaign with 42 goals – including a brace in the European final.

Zidane will always be remembered for his fantastic technical ability, passion, and sensational goals during his playing career. But after securing the Champions League once again for Real Madrid, it’s clear now that his managerial career may somehow one day outshine his playing one.

By Ryan Walker

This image was provided by Ai Kagou.

 

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