BY NISHANT AWASTHI
With great power comes great responsibility, and those who thrive under pressure and responsibility are the ones who write history in their ink, much like the Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane. Zizou’s influence on this Madrid side has been apparent since the first day of his arrival in the managerial role but nobody would have imagined that this man, who is often considered the best in the history of football will stand at a position to lift the most prestigious club football trophy without even stepping inside the pitch cometh the end of the season.
Zidane has been at the helm of Real Madrid for only four months till now and his side is in the final of the Champions League to be played in Milan on May 28th. Champions League has always been a special competition for Real Madrid, the 10 time winners of the prestigious trophy. It’s big European nights such as these that Real Madrid is associated with, but during the first half of this season’s campaign with Rafa Benitez as the coach, things didn’t look as bright for this mammoth club as they appear now. Real Madrid were sitting 3rd in La Liga, had lost to their biggest rivals Barcelona 4-0 in front of their home fans, were eliminated from the Spanish Kings Cup or Copa Del Ray for fielding an ineligible player in the form of Dennis Cherychev and were not convincing enough in the Champions League opening fixtures. It certainly looked likely to be a trophy less season for the Spanish giants, until the moment when Zidane was appointed as the head coach half way through the season.
Things changed dramatically for Madrid after Rafa Benitez was sacked to be replaced by the club legend Zidane. He not only brought much needed calming influence inside a chaotic dressing room but he also brought in something else, which Real Madrid seemed to be lacking the most in the earlier part of the season, self-belief that this team is indeed the best on the planet. There had never been any question marks over Zinedine Zidane the player as his mesmerizing runs and inch perfect passes still turn on the football fanatics but Zinedine Zidane the coach was untested and raw, people had their doubts. Since his appointment though, Real Madrid have gone from strength to strength, winning 10 consecutive La Liga matches, cutting down the difference between them and current La Liga leaders Barcelona to a single point, and are now in the final of the biggest trophy of the season in club football. Things have taken a dramatic turn around and this time it’s making the Madrid faithful’s dance with joy.
Midway through the season nobody would have expected Real Madrid to stand at the position where they stand now cometh the business end of the campaign. With two matches in La Liga and one 90 minute epic battle against the city rivals Athletico Madrid in the Champions League Final, Real Madrid have a real chance of lifting two of the most prestigious trophies on offer to them. If they go on to lift both the trophies, this season will be nothing less than historic, if they win the Champions League, the coveted Un Decima, their season would still be extremely successful. But even if they this team does not lift any trophy this season (which looks unlikely) it will not be a failed season, because in this season this team has found a coach, one of their own, who promises to bring much more silverware in years to come. Zinedine Zidane the coach has passed his first test at the arena which is considered a death bed for the coaches, where sacking a coach within months of appointment is not a rare sight. And not just passed, Zizou has passed his first test with flying colours, and whatever happens from now between the end of the season, Madrid faithful’s can stay rest assured that their team will bring home much glory in the coming future, with the Madrid Legend Zinedine Zidane pulling the strings in a way that only he can do, with grace and with pride.