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Open Thread: May 27, 2021

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Our Thursday issue of the Daily Merengue!

Real Madrid v Sevilla - La Liga Santander Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images

The Open Thread/Daily Merengue is a place where you can discuss anything and everything related to football. Feel free to discuss the topics presented here, or start your very own discussions! The Open thread will be posted every day by one of the mods: Valyrian Steel, Felipejack, YoSnail, Ezek Ix or NeRObutBlanco.

Godspeed, Zizou

Several of his players had just expressed their belief that he would be staying, but our coach has nevertheless decided to call an end to his second stint at Real Madrid. Zidane had stated that he would ‘make things as easy as possible’ for the club, thus he decided just after the season ended. His second run, made up of two seasons, brought a La Liga title and a Spanish supercup. It shows the nature of his standing with our decorated club that it was up to Zidane whether he would continue.

Zizou’s tactics and systems of play have been questioned within the club and fans, for example against low-blocks and mid / low tier teams or in the last times Madrid exited the UCL. This is part of the beauty of being free to express our views, even if they are critical of a club legend. We can argue and disagree without hatred. But looking at his results overall, there can be no doubt that Zidane’s influence at Real Madrid involved the highest quality football.

Zidane, in his self-effacing manner, seemed to love above all else being with his players and enjoying football. There is something refreshingly uncomplex about this joy he has for the game, as he has expressed in interviews. He wanted the players to remember to have that even in big games. He’s a reminder to reconnect with the game itself, when everything seems to be twitter alerts and transfer rumors.

One of the distinctive characteristics of his coaching style has been his way of putting faith in the players and showing deep patience. Players at times will be unable to fully express their quality or seem to be having a tough run of form; Zizou clearly found ways to bring the best out of players to bring them to a higher level. Some would undoubtedly say that faith in his long-time players was a critical flaw. But let us not forget: this style and tendency was a factor in Real Madrid achieving the unprecedented three-peat.

Real Madrid, with its history of winning European titles with class and style since the days of Di Stéfano and Puskas, puts incredible, brutal pressure on players. This is especially the case for young players who’ve not yet established their careers, so as to allow them to deal with the inevitable negative feedback. For these two periods of coaching, it seemed to take someone of his reflective and calm personality to settle the players down so that they can express themselves well under such conditions.

This is another distinctive element of Zidane’s coaching: his being able to connect directly — even bluntly at times — with the players. It is his manner to let players know openly where they stand with him, for good or for bad. From afar, it seemed this resolved a lot of psychological questions. It’s possible that this gift derives from his time playing for the club, his personal experience in playing for Real Madrid, that allowed Zizou to see personnel relations in this light.

The record of Zidane’s successes for Real Madrid contributed in a central way to the legacy and stature of the club. That may be the finest acknowledgement a coach can hope to achieve. Perhaps one day he will return when Real Madrid is in need of a steady hand, to let his influence be felt and lift this club to glory again.

Allegri is being reported by ABC Deportes as ‘IN’

This seems to be the only source with this information, so far.