Millennium Post

Zidane handed baptism of fire by misfiring Madrid

In a time of crisis, Real Madrid have looked for inspiration rather than experience as club legend Zinedine Zidane was handed his first senior managerial role as the club’s coach.

Zidane replaces Rafael Benitez, who was sacked on Monday after just seven months and 25 games in charge.

The Frenchman is loved at the Santiago Bernabeu thanks to his five stellar years to end his playing career in the Spanish capital, most memorably scoring a stunning winning goal in the 2002 Champions League final.

Yet, his coaching experience is limited to a season-and-a-half in charge of Madrid’s feeder team Castilla where he failed to secure promotion from Spanish football’s third tier last season.

However, Madrid hope to recreate the magic formula enjoyed by Pep Guardiola and Barcelona during his glorious 14-trophy haul with the Catalans between 2008 and 2012.

Like Zidane, Guardiola was a club legend as a player who graduated from a season in charge of Barca’s B team to become the most successful coach in the club’s history.

Moreover, unlike Benitez, Zidane is at least sure to have the respect of Madrid’s star-studded dressing room, who constantly clashed with the former Liverpool and Chelsea manager.

Zidane doesn’t just have the kudos of being a former Ballon d’Or winner, but he was Carlo 
Ancelotti’s assistant as Madrid won their long-awaited 10th Champions League crown in 2014.

“We have the best club in the world, the best fans and what we have to do now, and what I will try my best to do, is ensure the team wins at the end of the season,” said the normally ice-cool Zidane, who admitted to feeling more emotional than the day he joined Madrid for a then world-record fee from Juventus in 2001. 
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