Zinedine Zidane, a commanding figure in Madrid’s dressing room as well as history has led them back to La Liga glory. This is Zidane’s 2nd Liga title as manager. It was Madrid’s 34th La Liga title in their history.
Zidane was seen with tears in his eyes.That shows how big a La Liga title was for the Madrid side. “The Champions League is the Champions League, but La Liga makes me happier because La Liga is what it is all about. This is a tremendous feeling because what these players have done is incredible. I am lost for words because I am too emotional.” The Frenchman rated this title above all their Champions League triumphs.
La Liga glory surprisingly has been hard to come by for the Madrid team in the last decade. 3 Liga titles in 10 years is not a good number for a team like Real Madrid. Yes, they dominated Europe, the three-peat covered up for domestic glory, but the fans always want more.Despite all the European success, La Liga trophy was missing from Madrid’s cabinet since 11-12 until they won it in the 16-17 season. It was the Galactico himself, Zinedine Zidane who led Madrid to La Liga double that season. Now, here he is again, the man to the rescue after a shambolic last season.
When Cristiano left Madrid in 2018, it looked like the happy times were coming to an end for the Whites. The last season proved it as they were embarrassed in the Champions League. In the league too, they failed miserably. Lopetegui and Solari came, they tried but could not succeed. Madrid looked to be headed the same way as legendary clubs like AC Milan are right now.However, Perez had different ideas. Cometh the hour, cometh the man. A year and half after Zidane infamously stepped down as the manager, he was appointed again in March 2019.
It looked a difficult task, with fans and pundits doubting Zidane and crediting Cristiano for the three-peat success. People even said Madrid is nothing without Cristiano but Perez, Zidane and the team proved everyone wrong. As they say in the Spanish capital, no player is bigger than Real Madrid.
Zidane after his re-appointment immediately said that the club will focus on winning La Liga in the coming season and that is what they did. Replacing Cristiano’s goals was not an easy task, but Zidane managed it by defensive masterclass.
He replaced Cristiano by Thibaut Courtois and turned Madrid into the meanest defence in the Top 5 leagues. As they say, ‘Attack wins you games, defence wins you titles.’ Zidane knew that to stay in a La Liga title race, Madrid needed consistency.
This is what Zidane managed. 21 different players scored for Real Madrid in this season’s La Liga which no team has ever man aged in this century. It was truly a team effort by Zidane’s Madrid led by the ever dependable ‘El Capitano’ Sergio Ramos.
With one of the best man-management Zidane led a side full of talent to their 34th La Liga title. Grinding out narrow victories was always one of the failings in the past. However, Zidane made sure that the team stay focused adding to the fact that Thibaut Courtois had one of his best seasons ever, helped.
Zidane’s side have conceded only 23 goals in La Liga this season which is the least for them in the past decade. Thibaut Courtois has 18 clean sheets in the league this season which is the highest since Iker Casillas.Madrid’s defence and Courtois bailed out the teams on several occasions. This Madrid team came nowhere close to the high-scoring records of Mourinho’s 11-12 side, but they managed it defensively.
Zidane has managed to turn this team from the misery that it was in the last season. They were down and out until the Frenchman rejuvenated the side. 11 trophies for Zidane since 2016, is the highest for any manager in that span of time.
As Florentino Perez said after the win last night, “Zidane has won a trophy every 19 games. He is a blessing from heaven and hopefully he will be with us for a long time. People can criticise him as much as they want as long as he continues to win titles.”
The Frenchman is indeed a blessing. He has managed to knock Barcelona off their perch with an all-round team. Zidane has made the fans forget about Cristiano Ronaldo. And is it looks, maybe it was the absence of Zidane which led to struggles last season, rather than absence of Cristiano Ronaldo. With Zidane at the helm, Madrid go marching on, continuing the legacy of the historic club.