Florentino Pérez defined it perfectly: “You can tell Zizou what you want, but what he has in his head does not change him no matter how much you talk to him and in the end he will do what he thinks, you will not change his opinion.” This is Zidane. So he decided to hang up his boots in 2006 when the president pressured him to complete the remaining year of his contract. He didn’t play it. He retired. Fourteen years later it is still the same. During these three months of ups and downs of results, he has always maintained his ideology as a coach. He did not think selfishly of saving his position. He did not risk with Ramos at Sánchez Pizjuán, or with Carvajal against Borussia Moenchengladbach. He only thought about aligning the players in better physical condition. Now he has explained to his pupils that after two victories that have transformed the feeling of the club, getting a third victory against the leader of the League would be the confirmation of a real and psychological comeback that can make them fight for everything after having seen nothing.
“It is the opportunity to show what we are and we want to defend the title we won last season.” The words of the Marseillais say it all. Each week of training is an exam that he puts his staff. Each match is the “cum laude” exam. Those tests have seated Isco, Marcelo and Asensio to give prominence to Lucas Vázquez, Rodrygo and Vinicius. It has changed men, not ideology. He will die with him, without being influenced by the press or by opinions of the sports management. When someone advised him to line up a footballer for an important date, let’s leave him anonymous, he didn’t give him a minute. Zinedine decides for better or for worse. It does not admit advice. And the footballers once again trusted their beliefs, which gave them three Champions League titles, and they came out of the quagmire again.
For the Real Madrid sports manager, loyalty and behavioral discipline within the group are essential. In the end we see that Lucas Vázquez, Rodrygo and Vinicius play because they perform and have managed to take the blows of the substitution, sometimes unfair. The same happens with Valverde, high for the derby next to Carvajal. The Uruguayan deserved to enter the eleven a long time ago, before starting, and lived that slow transition applied by the coach until he was part of the scheme of the big games. It is the results that force change. If Zizou wins with the veterans, he makes no variations. With them he celebrated eleven titles. So it is and so it will die in the field. No one will change you.
The two triumphs reaped in the last two meetings allow him to think about the highest goals. “Right now Atlético is the favorite to win the League,” says Zidane to try to weaken the rival with praise. He hides that he thinks that if they win today that favoritism will be less. The head of Real Madrid analyzes that if they maintain tactical discipline on the field for ninety minutes, which is the crux of the crisis, they can win the Spanish championship again and take steps forward in the Champions League. This is what he asked footballers in recent days with that crudeness surrounded by a low voice that marks his way of speaking. Short and at the foot, few but decisive words.
The importance of the group
Marcelo, today a substitute, has acted as captain to support the coach and the squad unit in this critical phase. It is another behavior that the technician values. If you don’t play on the pitch, you have to do it outside. A good atmosphere was essential when the results did not come out. “You have killed us too soon,” another captain noted in reference to certain media. “We are capable of everything”, was a phrase that the team leaders said before the Champions League match and that they spread after being first in the group. “Now what are you going to say?” There are pending accounts.
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