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In Zidane We Trust

The Frenchman will be given unparalleled authority, but what does that truly mean for the club, the players, the fans, and the media?

Real Madrid CF v RC Celta de Vigo - La Liga Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Blind faith. If Zidane is to raise Madrid from the ashes once again, the players, the board, the fans, and the media must place all their faith in the Frenchman. For Florentino Perez, Zinedine Zidane is the chosen one — he is to Florentino what King Arthur was to the people of Camelot, the only man capable of pulling Excalibur from the stone. It’s nearly fact now, Zinedine Zidane will have authority unlike any coach before him. No interference from above, the big decisions revolving the sporting side of Real Madrid will be made by Zidane himself. That is all well and good now, but what does that mean 6, 12, or even 18 months down the road?

Much of the attention of the world’s football media has been around the impending squad shake-up at Madrid this summer. Zidane may decide to sell Martin Odeegard with a buy-back clause and keep his soldier Lucas Vazquez in the squad. Zidane may also decide to purchase Sadio Mane instead of a big-name striker. Paul Pogba and Christian Eriksen, despite the media getting your hopes up, may ultimately be vetoed. Raul De Tomas may get the nod over the world’s latest wonder-boy, Joao Felix. Tough decisions will be made that may not always be seen in a positive light by the fans or the media, and even the club itself, but “blind faith” must be the motto. Why? Because Zidane will construct a squad to win. Having been one of the most successful managers in Real Madrid’s history, he deserves the same autonomy as his counterparts at other football institutions. Much like Pep Guardiola at Manchester City, Jurgen Kloop at Liverpool, Diego Simeone at Atletico Madrid, among others. Zidane will be measuring a multitude of factors — player type, personality, systems, age, etc. — when building his team. Building a squad encompasses granular details, it entails much more than selecting all of the world’s galacticos.

In a study done by Nexus Learning, managers of all different job types and all different backgrounds were placed together to take a “DiSC” personality test. D stood for “Dominant”, i stood for “Influential”, S stood for “Stability”, C for “Compliant”. The managers were split into groups based upon their over-arching personality type which was revealed to them by the test. Afterwards, Nexus asked each group how they would solve a problem and what they would need from their superiors in terms of management and coaching to get the job done. Each group scribbled down their answers on how they would solve the problem and each group’s thought-process and action steps were unique from each other. The one consistent theme from all four groups, which encompassed individuals of all different backgrounds and companies—from accountants to truckers to pipeline engineers and to sales— was on how they would like to be managed by their superiors in order to get the job done. What was the one common answer? Managers wanted to be given specific and clear goals and then to be left alone. They wanted to be trusted and allowed the freedom to do their job.

Zidane must be left to do the job. If 6 months down the road, the team are not playing glamourous football and are trailing to Barcelona in the league, and if they finish 2nd in their Champions League group, and if they barely scupper by a 2nd division side in the Copa Del Rey, calls for Zidane’s head must be restrained. If 12 months down the road, there is no trophy for a second year running, Zidane again must be trusted. He must have full authority to continue building his squad. For the first time in Madrid's illustrious history, the club must commit to a long-term coaching project. Regardless of the issues, Zidane must be given a minimum of two years or four transfer windows to build this squad in his mold.

Rash, impulsive responses are not the answer. For all those affiliated with Real Madrid — Zidane was the answer. 9 trophies in 2 years and 5 months during his first tenure. As Jose Mourinho stated, there is no better man to lead this club. Whether that is true or not, should not be up for debate, it simply has to be believed. Blind faith is believing in what you have yet to see, the tangible results aren’t there yet for you to trust, yet unwavering trust is still present. Zinedine Zidane has been given his goals, now let him do the job.

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