“Leave the stage when the ovation is loudest” is a witty saying that needs no further explanation.
Every leader, ruler, coach, player wants to leave his job at the peak of his powers, when the respect would still be there.
It is easy to forget success of Yester years as new events overshadow it.
Sometime in 2018, out of the blue, a certain Zidane quit his role as Real Madrid Manager after a trophy laden career which saw him winning the Champions League three times consecutively.
Not only that, the Frenchman also won the Spanish League and Club World Cup in his reign as Real Madrid manager.
Real Madrid have struggled to replace Zidane. The board directors hired Julen Lopetegui, fired him. They hired Solari and also fired him. Ironically, only Zidane can replace Zidane.
Real Madrid have announced Zinedine Zidane as the new coach with immediate incorporation for the remainder of the season and the next three, until June 30, 2022.
CAN THE OVATION GET ANY LOUDER?
In his first coming as Real Madrid manager, Zidane’s side won 104 out of 149 matches between January 2016 and June 2018.
They drew 29 and lost only 16, leaving him with a 69.8 per cent win ratio – bettered by only four managers in Real’s history.
Manuel Pellegrini tops the list on exactly 75 per cent after 36 wins out of 48, narrowly ahead of Carlo Ancelotti on 74.8 per cent (89 out of 119).
Jose Mourinho won 128 of 178, 71.9 per cent, with Luis Carniglia the only other man over 70 per cent after 48 wins from 68 in the late 1950s.
Zidane stands as the only manager in modern football history to have won the Champions League back to back.
Winning the Champions League three times on the trot is a feat that seals Zidane’s all time magnegerial legendary status.
Zidane certainly left when the ovation was loudest.
Can the ovation get any louder?
In truth, yes. Why? Because in his first coming as manager, Zidane did not achieve it all for Real Madrid.
He never won the Copa Del Rey. Also, as a Real Madrid legend, Zidane won’t be happy with Barcelona’s dominance of the Spanish League. Perhaps, it is one of those things he plans to fix in his second coming.
The ovation for Zidane would surely get louder if he can return Real Madrid to greater heights in the 2019/2020 season by winning the Copa Del Rey and preventing Barcelona from winning the Spanish League for the third season consecutively.
The fear for many is that Zidane could do great harm to his legendary status in his second coming as Real Madrid manager.
Despite rumours that Real Madrid could splash the cash on players like Hazard, Mbappe and Neymar, there are no guarantees that they would succeed.
There is no player like Ronaldo. Zidane’s first successful era as Real Madrid manager had a lot to do with the performances, goals and efforts of 5 time ballon d’or winner Cristiano Ronaldo.
The major reason Solari’s contract was terminated was because of Real Madrid’s abysmal performance in the Champions League which saw the 13 times champion dumped out in the round of 16.
With Zidane as manager, is there any guarantee that Real Madrid would perform big again in Europe’s premier competition?
Real Madrid needs more than a Ronaldo replacement to hit big strides again.
Modric, Ramos, Benzema, are all above 30. Only a squad overhaul can help Zidane’s second coming.
Real Madrid have sacked the best of the best managers in recent years. Zidane only needs to ask Mourinho, Ancelotti and the likes.
Time would be the major determining factor as regard whether the ovation can get any louder for Zidane.