Could Zidane save Real Madrid’s damaged prestige?

Few trophies obtained, players come in, players go out, millions of euros invested in the last ten years… same president: Florentino Perez, another victim: Rafael Benitez. After his success with Liverpool and Napoli, Benitez started on September 2015 with the purpose of recover the football prestige Real Madrid has lost, shadowed by the best team of the World, by now, FC Barcelona, and its own egotistic idiosyncrasy.
The crisis is such enormous in the last ten years that legends such as Raul Gonzalez Blanco, Iker Casillas, and prominent players such as Angel DiMaria, Gonzalo Higuain, among others have been gone due to -claimed by Florentino Perez, president of the club- “unfavorable results.”
Another mini-crisis started. “Los Blancos” (used to be called “Los Galacticos” in their best era of Zidane, Ronaldo, Beckham, etc.) drew 2-2 vs Valencia. Few weeks before, Benitez, was again supported by the Florentino and company. He wanted enough time claiming that more “continuity” is need in some players for their better performance. The truth was some players, like Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos, did not like the way he coached, his philosophy. Some other players like Isco or James did not have a chance to play.
Ironically, Benitez played what it was his last game, against the club of his life, Valencia FC, the club which he coached to their best time in its history: 2 Spanish Leagues, and 1 UEFA Cup. As the Christ of the “valencianos,” he was received there with insults and whistles, 12 years later, without imagining his “crucifixion” at Mestalla Stadium. That 2-2 score buried him down. Few hours later, Florentino and the Board of Directors decided to fire him. An unexpected but visible figure came into their Madridistas’ minds: Zinedine Zidane.
After coaching Real Madrid Castilla with regular success for few years, Zidane had had the absolute support of Carlo Ancelotti two years ago. Many were the rumors he could have been the next coach, but Benitez was the chosen one. Now he has the chance to save the prestige of an institution that, after the Galacticos’ era (2000-2007), has been shadowed not only by the best FC Barcelona era in history for the last 10 years and resurgence of other teams, but, according to an article by the Daily Mail, by the “egos, politics, and interference from Florentino Perez”
Thus, according to the Daily Mail article, Benitez said that Florentino was like the grumpy grandfather who wasn’t satisfied with his him, his “son” regardless of huge winning scores or the way his players, or “grandsons,” were treated; they went to Florentino. That egotistic philosophy of Florentino was transmitted in some players, causing ruptures of relationships between them and Benitez. Was he then unfairly treated to be dumped at the back door? Did he do the bad decisions on players? Or was Florentino’s interference on players who decided on Benitez’s fate?
Zidane started on January 4th, as the one who “knows better than anyone just what it means to lead the Real Madrid first-team squad. He’s fully aware of how tough and at the same time how exciting this demanding position is,” according to Florentino. Is that the same script for any new coach? Perhaps. Was it the same script for Mourinho? Maybe. Unlike Mourinho fired from Chelsea after his comeback, Benitez’ ill-fated reign lasted miserably thanks to Florentino’s ego and the idiosyncrasy at the Bernabeu. Remember when Luis Enrique was about to get fired when Barcelona didn’t fill the fans’ and the directors’ expectations? The formula was to “let them play” from the beginning as a team, and not individually feeding their own egos. That’s how Barcelona became successful in 2015 led by Messi.
Debuting as the new coach, and after two wins and one “unlucky” draw visiting Sevilla against Real Betis FC this last Sunday, January 24th (1-1) in La Liga, it seems that Zidane has a long way to not only wins cups, satisfy players and public. As a hero of “la Novena,” the 9th UEFA Champions League, and an assistant coach of “La Decima,” the 10th and last Champions League, “Zizou” has to also satisfy Florentino -like any coach under his management, rather than satisfy fans and players, and the culture and environment around the team. Hopefully, Florentino and other players learn their lesson to let Zidane work and have respect on such a legend. At the meantime, we all wish him… bon chance, buena suerte, good luck Zizou.

By Matt

Matt is the owner and chief-editor of the Footy Blog, one of the UK's leading football news blogs.