Zinedine Zidane’s departure – Real Madrid’s Winning complexity or rebuilding doubt
A 45-year-old manager says goodbye to the World’s best managerial job after winning three straight UEFA Champions League trophies. And if you considered the latest title which came only five days ago, it creates a doubt on the decision to leave the club. The happy memories are still alive and even the celebration hasn’t ended yet in Madrid, and here is the shocking revelation – Zinedine Zidane’s departure. Is it Real Madrid’s winning complexity or rebuilding doubt?
There must be something brewing between the club hierarchy and Zinedine Zidane from quite some time. Zidane’s press conference doesn’t justify his decision to say goodbye. He said as Real Madrid official website reports, “This team needs to continue winning and they need a change. After three years they need different ideas, different ways of working and that is why I took this decision. I love this club dearly and I want to thank the president for the opportunity that he gave me to come and play at this club, this great club. I will remain grateful for the rest of my life. Now, however, it is time for change, for me and for everyone, and that is why I have taken the decision not to continue as Real Madrid coach next season.”
Re-reading Zidane quotes, struck by the curious position the Copa del Rey has in Spanish football. Sounds like it had a role in Zidane wanting to leave, while many Barça fans wish they’d stop taking it so seriously. You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.
— Richard Martin (@Rich9908) June 1, 2018
We all have to respect Zizou decision, but there is not all heart in it. He has the winning mentality and he can’t say I can’t win anymore for Real Madrid. Those three years were great for Les Merengues, they celebrated nine titles. They must have been given one more shot to the glory. He must have said, ‘Ok, we have won three consecutive Champions Leagues, why not go for the fourth?’
The reason is simple. Zidane wants to continue with his current team, which is obviously world’s best with experienced players at their prime. He would have liked to continue with the same team for a year or so and then would have thought have about rebuilding, but Real management is thinking about future. Yes, it is about winning complexity and rebuilding.
If Zidane continues to work with the same team, there is sure shot that he may win the fourth consecutive Champions League title. The squad average age is 29, and most of the team squad are still in their prime. But, what next?
Zidane would have been happy with his term winning everything, but he would have left to do a lot more cleaning for his successor. His successor will have to carry an aging squad which can’t be sidelined in one season. It would have taken another two or three years to build the winning squad again.
Real Madrid’s management are aware of that. They know they cannot continue with this squad. Their playing XI have hardly changed in last three seasons. They haven’t brought a big name to the Santiago Bernabeu after Toni Kroos arrived from Bayern Munich.
Look at the playing XI’s age. Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos is 32, superstar Cristiano Ronaldo is 33, midfield boss Luka Modric is 32, utility player Marcelo and Karim Benzema both are 30-years-old, and goalkeeper Keylor Navas is 31. Six of the first choice players have already surpassed their prime age of a footballer career and you can’t replace them at a sudden.
Raphael Varane (25), Casemiro (26), Dani Carvajal (26), Toni Kroos (28), and Gareth Bale (28) are the only jewel from the preferred playing XI who are under 30. Whereas Zidane sees the opportunity to give chances to the Real Madrid academy (Castilla) players which also involve his own sons, Real Madrid management want outside players for the better marketing.
Real Madrid’s last galactic signing was Gareth Bale in 2013. It’s five years since they have gone after adopting their galactic model. They fancy that model just for the marketing purpose. They simply want to be the world’s richest club, but Zidane has different ideas.
He sees value in the homegrown players. Players like Mateo Kovacic, Marco Asensio, and Lucas Vazquez has impressed him. Then there is Isco who can fill in the vacant position waiting for his regular role after his transfer from Malaga in 2013. Achraf Hakimi, Dani Cabellos, Jesus Vallejo, Borja Mayoral, Marcos Llorente, and Theo Hernandez are also vying for their place in the playing XI. They are really good players and then there are Brazilian wonder kid arrivals in Vinicius Junior and Rodrigo.
The team can shape up with these world-class players. Isco, Asensio, Vazquez, and Kovacic have already proved their potential and the rest will follow. They need little more playing time and Zidane was the best one to do so with squad rotation policy. Frenchman has made Asensio, Vazquez, and Kovacic stars. He gave them a place in this star-studded side, and he can do so with other ones. But unfortunately, he’ll no longer be in Real Madrid’s dugout.
ESPN’s Gabriel Marcotti also holds the same view. In his interview with ESPN he said, “When you look at the make-up of this Real Madrid squad and the number of veterans, coming up to 27, 28, 29, or older in some cases and are tied into long-term contracts, 2021 like Cristiano, 2022 Gareth Bale, and many others – you do wonder if maybe that played a part.
“They could probably come back and win it again next year but at some point, this time will probably need to be blown up to some degree. There was talk already this year of bringing in new players, refreshing the team, and maybe Zidane didn’t want to be part of that transition.”
For me, Zinedine Zidane’s departure has very much to do with it. It’s winning complexity and rebuilding of Real Madrid’s team. They may not be Chelsea but they are also very prone to changing managers in quick succession and I don’t see even the next manager arriving will stay for another three years.