Monday night was a day like no other for the Madridista faithful. The inevitable became reality: Florentino Pérez sacked Rafa Benítez, appointing former galáctico Zinedine Zidane, one of the greatest players of all-time, as head coach of Real Madrid. As expected, many supporters were thrilled with the selection, knowing that their former No. 5 would once again step foot onto the Santiago Bernabeu's illustrious pitch on a weekly basis.
Zidane is the new manager, holy dried up pigeon shit on concrete that's awesome, we will definitely win El Clasico... #HalaMadrid— Chad Johnson (@ochocinco) January 4, 2016
The is taking over for Real! Zidane is back
— Corey Yant (@CoreyYant) January 4, 2016
However, others remained skeptical...
It’s a bit of a slippery slope appointing a club hero and legend like Zidane with no senior coaching experience #RealMadrid— Matthew Galea (@mg91) January 4, 2016
Now is probably not the time to mention Zidane’s Castilla teams were tactically naive and lacked mentality, tactics and identity.— Will Parchman (@WillParchman) January 4, 2016
Regardless, Zizou may be a gamble but he's Madridista to the core. He's been groomed for this position since his managerial career began and is a calculated risk worth taking.
In 2001, under Perez's reign, Zidane joined Real Madrid from Juventus for a staggering 75 million euros. The rest is history as the Frenchman went on to cement himself in the hearts of Madridistas worldwide. Goals like his sublime volley against Bayern Leverkusen in the 2002 Champions League final and earth-shattering header against Villareal in his final game for the club eternalized Zidane as arguably the greatest galáctico ever.
Since, he's lurked in the shadows, managing Castilla. While his performance over the years hasn't been all that convincing, at least not to the standard expected for a man taking the reigns of one the world's largest clubs, he's not a newcomer either. Zidane worked alongside Carlo Ancelotti and José Mourinho and was publicly supported by the former. Not to mention, he's played under multiple World Cup winning managers.
However, in spite of his few managerial acclaims, it's his shortcomings that make him such a fascinating prospect. Week in, week out, the 81,044 supporters inside the Santiago Bernabéu knew what to expect with Benítez. With Zizou, nobody knows what to expect.
Sure, he could crash and burn within 6 months...
But then again, he could steer Real Madrid out of their rut, leading the squad to another La Liga title and perhaps even better: La Undécima.
Madridistas across the globe should have nothing but hope, much more than they had when Benítez was at the helm. An argument can be made that there's been a number of great players turned managers who've failed and that ZZ could join that list. But, on the other hand there's the likes of Eddie Howe who was given Bournemouth's trust years ago and in return pulled them out of their crisis. Like Howe, Zidane has the front office's full trust, exactly what is needed to succeed.
"This is your club, this is your stadium. And you have all our support. From this moment, you are the trainer of Madrid. I know that the word 'impossible' does not exist for you." - Florentino Pérez
In addition to trust, Zidane possesses the qualities of a true leader. Wherever he goes, people follow. Whenever he speaks, people listen. His personality and character will rebuild a locker room that according to Football Espana, welcomed Benítez's exit.
Zidane has a positive history with many of the players and vows to build a good relationship with the rest. He's stated that Gareth Bale is "fundamental" to his plans and that he will give him "all the support so that he can keep playing well." Zidane doesn't want to disrupt any of his player's stellar form. In his first press conference, he backed Isco and James Rodríguez who were reported to be on the move as early as January under Benítez. He's a players coach, one that will be extremely well liked if not already.
Furthermore, Zidane is simply committed to instilling confidence within the club and pledges to win trophies.
"I will put all my heart into this job and for the club."
His managerial experience may not speak for itself but believe it or not, Zidane is the right man to lead Real Madrid.