Real Madrid are now in the market for a manager as Zinedine Zidane has stepped down. This decision comes just a few days after Zidane coached Los Blancos to his and their third consecutive UCL title. Naturally, this move comes as a surprise after winning a championship. However, there was talk in January that if Madrid didn’t beat PSG in the UCL round of 16, that Zidane would be fired; Madrid had performed poorly for their high standards in La Liga (finished 3rd and more importantly, 17 points off Barcelona).
Zidane’s Managerial Resume
Zidane leaves the club having won seven trophies in the three year span; 3 UCL titles, 2 UEFA Super Cups, 1 La Liga title, and 1 Spanish Super Cup. The Real Madrid legend was promoted from the youth coach in January 2016, after Carlo Ancelotti’s sacking. Since then, he has done nothing but win trophies.
“After three years Real Madrid needs a change, another way of working, another idea, if we are to continue winning. I feel it’s going to be difficult to continue winning. And because I’m a winner, I’m going.” This is what Zidane had to say during a press conference Thursday.
While Madrid fans may not want to see him go, cynics will have their say. “He didn’t want to deal with Ronaldo and Bale” or “he didn’t want to have to rebuild the team.” I can agree with those statements. But I also have to say this is something you do not see often; a manager recognizing that he has lost the locker room and removed himself from the situation.
The Search for his replacement
Who will be the next coach of Real Madrid? This question is the hottest topic across European club football now. Mauricio Pochettino has been linked with a move from London to Madrid over the past couple seasons. The move seems unlikely now that Pochettino has signed a contract extension with Tottenham.
A notable coach that is currently out of a job is former Arsenal legend, Arsene Wenger. Far from his managerial prime, this also seems unlikely. The most likely replacement for Zidane would be Antonio Conte who has fallen out of favor with the Chelsea front office.
Regardless of who becomes the next manager, they will have a lot to deal with. Bale and Ronaldo could both be wanting out. The average age of the starting 11 is 29; a lineup that is considered old by elite standards. The new manager will have to chase Barcelona in the league, who are seemingly able to adapt to their age problem. But as with any wealthy club, Real Madrid will find the best option going forward and supply talented players for this manager to work with. Whether or not they live up to expectations, remains to be seen as we wait for the managerial search to be over.