Could we see Zinedine Zidane in the Premier League?

by Colin Millar / 02 March 2018, 13:04

Within 24 months of his appointment at the Bernabeu, Zinedine Zidane had delivered eight trophies to the club and broken a series of records.

Under his guidance Madrid won back-to-back Champions League crowns, becoming the first team to do so in the modern era. In his first full season in the post, he delivered the club’s first La Liga title in five seasons and has since retained the Spanish Supercopa, Club World Cup and European Super Cup.

The Frenchman has lived and breathed success both as a player and in the dugout, delivering trophy after trophy. Yet this season it has all gone wrong.

Following the early 5-1 aggregate demolition of Barcelona in the Supercopa, his side have endured a chastening and humbling domestic campaign. They trail city rivals Atletico by 10 points while Barca are well ahead in the race to regain their league title. In the Copa, they were eliminated by Leganes following on from draws with lower league clubs Fuenlabrada and then Numancia.

The Champions League has been Zidane’s saving grace yet even then it has not been a smooth journey, with only one point gained against Tottenham in the group stages and despite a 3-1 first leg over Paris Saint-Germain in the knockout stages, his side have not convinced. The former World Cup winner has spoken of ‘the job being exhausting’ in a clear indication that he was considering his own future, amid reports he will leave the club this summer.

This has led to speculation that he may be linked to other clubs and naturally, much of this has pointed towards England and the Premier League. Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino – who got the better of Zidane earlier this season – has been linked as his replacement in Madrid and would leave his own position vacant.

Across North London, unrest at Arsenal could yet see Arsene Wenger depart while Chelsea will surely soon be seeking a replacement for Antonio Conte, whose current discontent is palpable.

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Zidane is undoubtedly a fine manager with many qualities, most notably man-management. Aside from James Rodriguez and in recent times with Gareth Bale, there has never been any clear friction between himself and any player.

Such was his own greatness as a player and subsequent success in the dugout, player’s egos dwindle and they respect the Frenchman, but also deeply admire his qualities and crucially, like him. That was not the case with his predecessor Rafael Benitez and being able to hit the right note of being both popular and authoritative was one Zidane struck straight away.

However, it does appear unlikely that he would join another club even should he leave his position this summer. It is becoming increasingly likely that he will tender his resignation, if he is not pushed, but there is no ill-feeling involved between the coach and the club, and this situation is likely to continue regardless of his own future. Many believe he could remain with Madrid either in an ambassadorial role or ‘moving upstairs’.

Either way, his skillset may be extensive but there is little evidence he can rebuild a team or take them in an entirely new direction. He is accustomed to working in a certain environment and in a dressing room which is used to winning trophies, with his knack of ensuring they’re hungry for more success.

Don’t be expecting Zidane to rock up in England anytime soon but should he wish too in the future, trophies are sure to follow.


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Karl Robinson
(Charlton Athletic)
22nd March


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