●The Intrigues, Twists & Turns
●Hand of FC Barcelona, El-Classico
●The Guti Connection
Many faithful of Real Madrid and die hard fans of Zinedine Zidane feel, his decision to quit or resign from the club is wrong having won the UEFA Champions League “back to back and back” as the world now chose to describe it. Perhaps they have forgotten that there is nothing left for the coach to win as far as club football is concern.
In other words, there won’t be any motivation or drive or purpose for him to stay on other than just earn good pay. For Zizou as he is fondly called, his young career as a coach cannot be caged by mere earning of big pay. He has a lot ahead of him. He has to prove that he is still loaded and has much to offer the sport. He has to prove that his success is not all about Real Madrid as he can achieve same feat elsewhere.
Resignation is for honourable people. It is for gentlemen. It is for those who love to create room for improvement and for others. It is for selfless people who do not want to be worshipped.
Indeed, resignation is for the God fearing. It could come into two folds.
Either you have failed and decided to vacate your position for another to occupy and improve the lot of the establishment or you have achieved tremendously like Zizou and decide to step aside for others to continue from where you stopped.
Zizou has chosen the honourable path. In just three years, he has won nine trophies which includes three UCL trophies. Some coaches have spent over 20 years on the job yet they have not won a domestic league title not to talk of the Europa Cup or dream of the big one, the Champions league.
The next busstop for Zizou should be the World Cup. May be after Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup, he would be wooed by the French FA to takeover Les Bleu job.
There is every likelihood that Zizou may be heading back to France. If not for national team assignment perhaps for club as the likes of PSG, Marseille and Lyon may be willing and ready to hire him.
Zizou is leaving Real Madrid arguably as the coach with the most. He is leaving with a record of three UCL in straight succession, a record that may stand for years to come. He is leaving the club after building a team for the future with a young squad of an average age of 24. Senior players like Sergio Ramos, Cristiano Ronaldo, Luca Modric and Gareth Bale are the few players in their 30s. He is leaving with a record of not buying a Galactico since joining the club in 2016, a tradition he alone has broken or do we say maintained. Coaches before him land bank-breaking superstars on assumption of duty. He is leaving after rebuilding the brand which the world has always known Real Madrid for.
He is leaving after transforming very average players to Galacticos. He is leaving when almost every Real Madrid fan and player wants him to stay.
What a time to quit! Obviously, he is leaving when the ovation is loudest. Recall that it has been a turbulent season for him. Once he was losing La Liga title to FC Barcelona, things fell apart between him and Fiorentino Perez.
Their very cordial relationship went cold and turned sour. Zizou gave his boys a hint of his exit during the first leg of the El-Classico. The upper hand which Barcelona had over Real Madrid in both legs of El-Classico 3-0 in Bernabue and 2-2 in Camp Nou further soiled the relationship between Perez and Zizou.
It is a known fact in Spain that both clubs talking about Real Madrid and FC Barcelona do not toy with La Liga. They both preferred another club to lift the shield than their arch-rivals. It is not fogiveable or pardonable to lose La Liga especially in a season FC Barcelona dominated Spain by winning a double (La Liga and Copa dey Rey). This was the dent on the record, culture and tradition of Real Madrid which led to the pressure on Zizou. Recall also that while FC Barcelona was already runaway champions of La Liga, the club’s topguns were taunting ex-player and homeboy Guti as a likely replacement for Zidane. This did not augur well with the Frenchman who felt distracted, slighted and belittled.
If he had won the Champions league and La Liga, surely Zidane would have stayed but he had to go to honour the tradition of the club. Indeed, this again will put immense pressure on the incoming coach. The club’s faithful can only pray and hope that this change will not return the club to the era of glory-hunt which was stopped by the entrance of Zizou. But that Zizou will return to Estadio Bernabue is just a matter of time!
By Desmond Ekwueme