Perhaps – and there is a reason here too – it is because of the great cult of the individual, especially an individual, that has enveloped this Real Madrid during most of the last decade. No matter who the manager is, the team of Cristiano Ronaldo will always be: His triumphs are his triumphs, his trophies are his trophies, almost always through his own divine intervention. Ronaldo is always the focus; at Real Madrid, the coach is referred to the supporting role.
But maybe there is something else in the game, the feeling that Zidane can be overlooked because he does not meet the criteria that we expect from a great 21
This is a time of the manager as a visionary and philosopher, not simply there to improve the ability to maintain fitness and direct the energies of elite athletes, but to put them at the service of a great idea; not just to make them a team, but to make them a story, to give them meaning and identity.
This idea is of course appealing because it creates the illusion that someone dominates the general chaos defines even the rarest level of football. For fans and owners who are emotionally and financially invested in the sport, the idea that much of what happens on the field is random is very unsatisfactory; It is much more appealing to believe that a transcendent character can handle the chaos. It is the declared belief of football that the manager alone has this agency, this power: less coach, more guru.
If this belief has many historical role models – from Helenio Herrera of Inter Milan to Matt Busby of Manchester United – then he has it In Guardiola, the designer of the first truly great 21st-century team, the Barcelona 2008-2012, he found his biggest modern expression.
Fans and clubs see Guardiola as a management paradigm: consumed by prophetic zeal, delivering a clear, unambiguous style
He advances relentlessly on the sideline, trying to convey his ideas to his players in order to achieve his own inner peace through sporting perfection. He speaks with almost impossible speed, ideas emerge and fall out of his head almost too fast for him to verbalize. he operates on a different level, sees the game deeper and clearer than we can realize.
Zidane does not fit into this form at all. He speaks slowly, intentionally, as if he refuses to say anything remarkable. He is naturally silent, bordered on timidity. He does not pretend to be the bearer of a school of thought, to have a higher purpose, to change the game.
He chooses his team, and his team plays well, and – in the Champions League at least – always wins. In a culture that demands complication, it is a simplicity that borders on asceticism.
His achievements are, of course, the strongest proof that he is more than he seems, but there are also the small details of how he fulfills the most fundamental, most important requirement of a manager: to influence the course of a single game.
The victory on Wednesday was a typical example. Real Madrid did not play well in any way. Bayern Munich took the lead through Joshua Kimmich and only out of the blue forgave a temporary concentration disorder that allowed Marcelo to shoot home from the penalty area.
At halftime Zidane discovered that he had to remove his playmaker and most impressive actor Isco. He introduced Marco Asensio and told him to hold the ball, to reduce the pressure on Real and to lead his team in counterattack. Ten minutes later, Asensio scored the victory in return.
Even more impressive was the reaction of Zidane to Dani Carvajal, his right back, forced out of the game by an injury. He avoided the logic: With 2: 1 he introduced Karim Benzema, a striker. Asensio switched to the right wing; Lucas Vázquez, a forward-thinking broad player, dropped to right-back. He wanted to try the pace of the pair, Franck Ribéry, Bavaria's extremely experienced winger to counteract. It worked; In the last half hour the Bayern had trouble creating opportunities.
That was a stupid accident, but that's a pattern. In the first leg of the knockout stages with Paris Saint-Germain, Zidane introduced Vázquez and Asensio; it was 1-1 when she arrived, and 3-1 at the end. In the second quarterfinal against Juventus he separated Casemiro and Gareth Bale at half-time to limit the damage. Vázquez also came and won the penalty that saved Real.
It's a property that all major managers share: a sense of being spoken or not, how a game is going, how the balance could be changed. 19659020] Continue reading the main story
Zidane has it, in spades. In last year's final, against Juventus, the game was played at halftime fine. All he asked of his players was to move five yards forward. Real, 1: 1 at the break, won 4: 1
This ability is not as tempting, as convincing as a preacher to hear his great vision of what football can be; It does not bring the belief that someone has control over the mess. Rather, it proves that even the slightest change can have far-reaching consequences.
It seems almost too easy to make comparisons too basic to be meaningful. However, complexity is not always important. Zidane does the simple things well. He could, could only know what he is doing.
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