Zidane Leaves at the Right Time – and Real Want Pochettino to Replace Him4 min read
It’s always the quiet ones.
Just when everyone expected that this might finally be the summer that Cristiano Ronaldo is moved on from Real Madrid, or Gareth Bale finally decides he’s had enough of sitting on the bench, Zinedine Zidane dropped his bombshell.
Not even a week after his third Champions League win in succession as coach of Los Blancos, and just as he did as a player, the Frenchman decided enough is enough and surprised everyone.
In a sombre press conference, he explained his decision by noting that the dressing room ‘needed a new voice.’
It’s a smart move you have to say. His stock has never been higher, even though Real’s league and cup campaigns last season were a complete and utter disaster.
Maybe that’s what accelerated the decision.
Though it’s not impossible, it’s highly unlikely that Real would go on to win a fourth Champions League in a row, and perhaps acknowledging his own shortcomings, Zidane has got out at just the right time.
And what a stunning legacy he leaves behind.
Aside from being the Kings of Europe, Real Madrid are also the current World Champions, a title they’ve held for the last two seasons.
Zidane never lost a knockout game in European football and lest we forget too that he also secured Real’s first double in almost 60 years during 2016/17.
He will be a hard act to follow, particularly because of how well he harnessed the egos and man-managed his squad.
Rafa Benitez could seemingly learn a thing or two from his replacement that’s for sure.
Whoever does come in at this point really is taking over a poisoned chalice, and in a not too dissimilar position to David Moyes when Sir Alex Ferguson retired.
Immediate success will be demanded by both board and supporters, and the new incumbent will be expected to hit the ground running.
One of their first jobs of course, will be to see if Messrs. Bale and Ronaldo do see their future at the Santiago Bernabeu because if not, Los Blancos will have a full-blown crisis on their hands.
There will also be the delicate issue of backroom staff, as any new coach will want to bring in his own people. That could well upset the equlibirium on the pitch.
It would appear that Florentino Perez isn’t prepared to look any further than Tottenham’s Mauricio Pochettino as the next man in charge at this juncture, but Daniel Levy will fight tooth and nail to keep a man who has revolutionised the north London outfit.
Suggestions that ‘Poch’ has an escape clause in his newly-signed contract, which allows him to leave if Real come calling, may or may not be wide of the mark.
The Argentine coach was 4/1 in the opening show to be Zidane’s succesor, but is now the favourite.
After Thursday’s bombshell though, it reminds us that you can never say never where football is concerned