Zidane and Real Madrid: the manager of egos and his rollercoaster ride

Real Madrid's historic ridicule after the Copa del Rey elimination against Alcoyano. "Shame" is the word most used these days by Real Madrid CF fans
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PHOTO/ZUMA  -   Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane

The Copa del Rey is a very attractive one-legged competition, but Zidane's side found the going tough. Real Madrid CF were defeated and eliminated by second division side Alcoyano.

After succumbing in the Copa, according to various media reports, Florentino Pérez has already agreed to Zinedine Zidane's amicable departure from the Madrid club.

This decision can be taken now because the pandemic makes it possible. Firstly, because the COVID has had a very negative influence on the economy of football clubs and, secondly, because both the president and the coach are spared the weekly brawl that the Bernabéu, full of fans, would give them every match.

Last November we announced that the Madrid coach was in a difficult situation if the team was eliminated from the Champions League.

There are many shortcomings in the squad and in the coaching staff. The league title won last year has covered up these shortcomings. The team alternates matches at a high level with others of embarrassment. A rollercoaster ride. When they are in trouble, they get the best out of themselves and solve the games. But it is pure mirage, soon a Cádiz, an Elche and even a team from Segunda B like Alcoyano arrive and leave the league champions in shame.

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REUTERS/JUAN MEDINA - Real Madrid president Florentino Pérez

The B team doesn't work. It's no good saying that they don't have minutes, that "Zidane doesn't take them out". No gentlemen, in Alcoy Mariano, Vinicius, Odriozola, Militao.... came on. And they didn't make the grade. They didn't even create chances against a Segunda B team. The defence is a sieve against Barcelona, against Athletic Bilbao and against whoever is in front of them, with Marcelo and with Mendy, with Ramos and with Militao, with Lucas and with Kroos.

Yesterday Vinicius, in the second goal against Alcoyano, was unmarked, without any tension. What tactical discipline has he learnt when in a corner you are in the box without marking anyone and two opposing players free? Maybe he would learn it after two months at Castilla.

Madrid's woes come from long ago; Cristiano Ronaldo and his 50 goals are gone, and they bring us a Jovic who doesn't measure up and an unprofessional Hazard. Mariano no comment...

There are professional players who train on their own despite being of a certain age, such as Modric, Ramos and Benzema; and others, quite the opposite, such as Hazard, Isco and Marcelo.

The physical level of the team is very poor, which is why they only step on the accelerator when they are at their wits' end. And that's why when the substitutes come on, they seem to be relaxed and without tension.

There are opinions that say that Zidane is not a good coach and that he is a good manager of egos. Well no gentlemen, managing egos well does not mean changing Vinicius, who was the sensation last year, for a mediocre player. Or an Isco Alarcón, leader of the Spanish national team, for an ex-footballer. Nor an undisputed starter Marcelo for many years for an indolent player. A Militao who was wanted by most European teams for a sieve. And even putting a Hazard without a minimum of physical preparation before the whole squad.

To manage egos well is to motivate players who are physically awful to train, get in shape and fight for the starting line-up. Communicating with players who in other teams played brilliantly and here are blocked and don't make the grade. Intermediating so that the players who can be used solve their renewal problems and only think about what they have to do. 

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AP/MARTIN MEISSNER - Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane, centre, talks to his team during a training session

In general, as they say in the world of football, "keep everyone on board."

And whoever is not there, is replaced by another player from Castilla and can go and play golf, have a laugh like against Alcoyano or go and play somewhere else.

The players are resources of the club that earn many millions of euros and they have to be at 100%. This is the responsibility of the coach and his staff. By the way, Zidane earns 12 million net per year. This does not give you the security that the team will play wonderfully and win all the titles, but it should give you the security of being perfectly prepared and not making a fool of yourself and embarrassing the fans.

What will Florentino bring in to replace Zidane? Another ego-manager, a friend of the players or an energetic coach who uses discipline and physical work as the basis of his method?

And will the squad be made up of discreet, professional, quality players or "extraordinary" players who love the club? So much that they blackmail it every four years for services rendered?