Zinedine Zidane – The Most Underrated Football Manager Of The 21st Century
Real Madrid legend and manager, Zinedine Zidane can be labelled as the most underrated and disrespected football manager of the 21st century.
If he was a manager for an English team or maybe if he was more expressive and more of the “shouting” type, a lot of people would’ve rated him differently. But because he manages Real Madrid and he doesn’t like to be in the spotlight, he is often overlooked and underrated.
He has won 3 Champions Leagues, 2 Club World Cups, 2 European Super Cups, 2 Spanish Leagues and 2 Spanish Super Cups with Real Madrid.
Zidane averages a title every 19.2 games in his professional career as a manager. This is one of the best rates in the history of European football. He has won 11 titles in just 211 games with Real Madrid (the second most in Spain’s history after just 3 and a half seasons)
Zidane has won the “Coach of the Year” award from organizations such as FIFA, France Football, IFFHS, ESPN, Onze, Globe Soccer, World Soccer, Marca, and L’Equipe a combined total of 10 times in his short career
The french legend is already tied as the manager with the most UCL titles in HISTORY after only 2.5 seasons. And he has done that while barely spending anything on players while the likes of Pep & Mourinho have spent nearly billion euros each on signings in the same period.
The fact that Zidane won 3 UCLs in just 2 and a half seasons is by far the achievement that gets overlooked the most. In comparison Pep Guardiola has won 2 UCLs in 12 years as a manager and Mourinho won 2 UCLs in 20 years as a manager.
In the 2017/18 UCL knockout stage, Zidane led RM to wins over the the French champions (PSG, home and away), the Italian champions (Juventus), and the German champions (Bayern Munich). He then defeated Liverpool in the final to win his third UCL title in his third attemp.
After winning the Supercopa by beating Barca home & away (5-1 agg.), he had a total of 7 titles with RM. Which meant that he had as many titles with the club as losses (just 7 losses in 90 games up to that point). He finished 2017 by being named the FIFA Coach of the Year.
Zidane also set the ALL-TIME European record for most consecutive games scoring in all competitions. A run that lasted 17 months (April 2016 to September 2017) and 73 consecutive games where Real Madrid scored in EVERY single one of them.
In 2017/18 season, Zidane managed RM in 4 finals and won all 4 of them. Extending his streak of winning all the finals he has reached as a manager to 8/8 up to that point (now 9/9).
During the 2016/17 La Liga season, Zidane’s Real Madrid lost just 1 of the 8 games where they conceded the first goal in the game, thanks in large part to Zidane’s changes and substitutions after going behind in the scoreline.
Zidane finished 2016/17 having led RM to La Liga (in his first full season in charge), UCL (making RM the first team to ever win back to back UCLs), UEFA Super Cup, and FIFA CWC. In his first full season, RM won 4 titles, a record haul for a season in the history of the club.
In the UCL, Zidane guided Real Madrid to wins home and away v Napoli AND Bayern Munich. In fact, In that season’s UCL knockout stage, Real Madrid won 6 of the 7 matches including one of the biggest final wins in the history of the competition (4-1 v Juventus).
The record 40-match undefeated streak lasted from April 2016 to January 2017. This meant that Real Madrid ended the 2016 calendar year with just 2 losses in the ENTIRE year in all competitions. A feat that has not been achieved by ANY Spanish club before in history (or since).
In 2016/17, less than a year since he started managing a senior team, Zidane set the record for the longest undefeated start to a season in the HISTORY of Real Madrid (29 games) and the longest undefeated streak in the history of ANY Spanish club (40 games).
Just 8 months into his senior managerial career, he managed to tie the record for longest winning streak in the HISTORY of La Liga (16). A record that Pep Guardiola set in his third full season in charge of Barcelona.
In the UCL, he guided RM to home and away wins v Roma, a comeback win v Wolfsburg after losing the first leg 0-2, and a win v Man City who had topped their group which included Juventus and Sevilla. And then he went on to defeat Atletico in the final to lift his first UCL trophy.
Zidane failed to win La Liga that season but he managed to close a gap that was as high as 12 points to just 1 point by the end of the season. That was thanks to a record end to the season where RM won the last 12 rounds of La Liga, something that no team has EVER done before.
He took over a broken squad that were unhappy, out of the Copa del Rey, and third in the table. In just his 15th game in charge, he went to the Cam Nou and beat a Barcelona that were on the longest unbeaten streak in their history (39 games), and he did that with just 10 men.
Source: The African Media