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The former French player's arrival to the merengue team to start a new cycle is at first glance positive, or is it not?
Florentino Pérez's ace under the sleeve was Zinedine Zidane. The truth is that it surprised many, not so much to convince him to return to the bench just 9 months after his resignation, but because he will do so immediately, right now. His name was an option in a booklet that included Jose Mourinho, Massimiliano Allegri, Mauricio Pochettino, and even Joachim Low. They had to move fast and hit the table, at least for pride in the remainder of this fateful season. This was done.
Obviously, for Real Madrid's fans, these are good news. To count again with the man who managed the talent of the entire staff, who dosed and brought out the best of Cristiano Ronaldo, who convinced the players of their potential more from the mental part than from the tactical one and who, of course, won several titles, three consecutive Champions League from 2016 to 2019, encourage his fans. However, we can not forget that this is another context and that 'Zizou' must adapt to it.
Cristiano Ronaldo is no longer his goal scorer, the man who together with him led that impressive Madrid hegemony. Then there are other questions: what to do with the new men who were not under his command as Vinicius Jr. and Thibaut Courtois ? How to replace a possible departure of Marcelo, who for many would have already formed with Juventus? The Frenchman must manage very well the next movements of the club and get the names of those who choose to leave or to stay. That was the reason that convinced him to return: to have full freedom to make decisions about the team.
I do not know about you, but in my particular case I always heard that phrase: "second parts are never good", used mainly to refer to new versions of old film productions. The truth? That phrase was almost always true. Usually, those remakes are not as good as the original movie. We do not know, but Zidane, returning so soon to such a hot bench, will risk his own reputation with the first cycle. He left the team at a very high level and you do not have to be very intelligent to think that it will be difficult to match with it.
The last three coaches who repeated the cycle at Real Madrid were the legendary Alfredo Di Stefano in 1990 after managing between 1982 and 1984, José Antonio Camacho in 2004 after a brief step in 1998 and the Italian Fabio Capello, in 2006, just ten years later after his first experience in 1996.
All in general lines repeated in their second cycle their performance of the initial stage, being Capello the only one that was titled in the league in both periods; Di Stefano was runner-up in both periods, while Camacho was dismal in both.
From my point of view, Zidane's arrival was very hurried, but it is also clear that it has a lot to do with the humiliating and premature elimination in the team's fetish competition: the Champions League, at the hands of a historic club like Amsterdam's Ajax. This team in its current version, although talented, is still unknown in this league.
That blow and the two previous ones that it received against his archrival Barcelona, which left him out of all possibility of a title this season, caused a crash. So deep it was that Florentino Pérez put aside his initial plan to keep Santiago Solari until the end of the campaign, a manager who has sacrificed a future as a coach being 'The Guinea Pig' of a highly complex situation.
One more thing. Just as Julen Lopetegui and Santiago Solari have not been able to bear the weight of Zidane's achievements, it is now the Frenchman himself who will have to carry such pressure on his shoulders, although it is true, that with a figure much more established and respected than his two predecessors.
What should 'Zizou' do?
There is no magic wand that guarantees you will have the same success as in past times, even doing exactly the same. The executor may be the same, but the atmosphere, the times, and in this case the players have changed, some for bad like Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Gareth Bale. I would say that even Sergio Ramos himself, who experiences a season of many ups and downs. Therefore, Zidane should know that this second experience is a high risk, but also that it could be eternal glory.
Zidane must understand that he can not count on the exact same group thanks to which he has been three times champion of Europe. That is why he must rescue the most emblematic players of the club: Ramos, Isco, Benzema, Casemiro and Asensio, and let go those who no longer want to continue there as they seem to be the cases of Bale, Marcelo, and Modric.
Then, to be able to make the most of the talent of the new striker who will surely arrive mid-year, he should look for a real 9. Going back to betting on Karim Benzema for that function seems like a risk. Others like Mariano Díaz and Brahim Díaz should be loaned to other clubs if Zidane is not going to use them to avoid rarefied environments like the one that happened with James Rodríguez.
Finally, the defense needs some new incorporation, especially thinking about the weakened figure of a Raphael Varane. He must make a prompt and just decision in the case of Keylor Navas and Courtois so as not to harm either of them. For now, speculate and see if figures like Eden Hazard, Kylian Mbappé or Neymar Jr. are signed by the club, if he asks for them. It will dawn and we will see.
LatinAmerican Post | Onofre Zambrano
Translated from "El regreso de Zidane tiene más incertidumbre de la que muchos piensan"