It is very rare to hear about a great football player, who happens to be a great coach as well. However, when talking about Zinedine Zidane, we are not talking about an ordinary football player, we are talking about a legend. One with a historic football career, who won the World Cup, Champion Leagues, European Championships, along with many individual trophies.
Even though he was a very successful football player, people underestimated Zidane when he was named Real Madrid’s coach in January 2016. Everyone doubted his ability to lead a club as big as Real Madrid. It was a risk for the club to assign a coach with no previous experiences aside from coaching Madrid’s B team. However, Zidane proved that his hunger for success did not diminish along the years, and was able to prove himself as a manager in a very short amount of time. As yesterday, Zidane won the Best FIFA Coach of the Year. A reward that goes back to his hard work, management skills, modesty and passion for the club.
When Zidane was first named coach, the club was at a very low point under the management of Rafael Benitez. They weren’t winning any games, and consequently, were dropped out of the Copa del Rey. A result of both increased management issues and the players having no spirit or motivation to play along with their pervious coach. Making it very hard for any manager to take the lead and save the club at this point. However, because of Zidane’s popularity among the players, after his lead, he was able to instantly turn the players’ spirit around. And it became obvious how the players were happier under his management, and that spirit shows among the players today.
Moreover, he put great faith and invested a lot of time in young players such as Francisco Isco, Lucas Vazques, Marco Asensio and Borja Mayoral. We saw young players starting up big games and scoring big. Zidane knew how to deal with big players such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Sergio Ramos and Karim Benzema and motivate them to always work on improving themselves, give them trust to lead the team from the pitch. He knows his players and trusts them, whenever the team loses, he defends the players, and whenever the team wins, Zidane gives all of the credit to the players and praises their hard work. He was able to gain the player’s and club supporters’ trust in no time. Even though he was not able to win La Liga during his first season as coach, Zidane was able to win the Champions League. And by his second season, the club won La Liga, the Champions League, Europe Supercup and Spanish Supercup.
So, it is no surprise that Zidane won the Best FIFA Coach of the Year. He was able to manage one of the biggest clubs in the world and turn its path around. What makes Zidane great is his great passion and sincere modesty. He believes in the team and gives the players credit for every single win, even during his speech yesterday Zidane said “I’d like to thank all the players who helped me to win this award. This is very special, thanks very much”. This is the type of leadership that helped him be a great manager in a very short time, and make the club great again.
Thank you Zizou for proving us all wrong. Thank you for your passion. Gracias Zizou for helping us all enjoy every single Real Madrid match we watched before, and for those to come.