Santiago Bernabeu has always been a star-studded place. Home to the most enthralling players and the most dominating coaches in the team, Real Madrid is a club beyond par. However, the more the star power, the more the headaches have been. It has also been an incredibly difficult team to manage because of which even the best managers have had hair pulling moments.
Jose Mourinho has frequently complained that the players have stuck a “knife in [his] back”. He even went on to say that he will find out the “rat” who leaked news about the team. He then went on to throw a bottle at the wall, screaming “I’m f—ing sick and tired of you all” before he moved out. The goalkeeping coach Jerzy Dudek even said that the experience at Real Madrid left a scar on Mourinho’s soul that he hasn’t been able to recover from. The dressing room was once described as “Baghdad” by Josh Toshack.
Rafa Benitez had a similar experience while working here. He said that he felt unloved and burnt with the team. The media was aware of his sacking one fine morning and he had no idea what had happened. Apparently, the board pushed him out of the team without even consulting him once. By the preseason, most people had decided that he was not good enough for them and hence he moved away. He had never played, and the dressing room called him ‘The No. 10’, especially when he tried to coach players on how to kick a ball.
When Zinedine Zidane replaced him in January 2016, it was a case of an unstoppable force against an immovable object. The Frenchman had a few scuffles and controversies in his previous clubs and maintained a Madrid like silence over things, leaving the past behind like it didn’t matter. He left the club on Thursday morning, leaving several wanting for more. His three-season stint at the club, which bought three successive European cups were nothing short of spectacular, but he moved on, right when everyone expected him to dabble in his success.
What made Zidane so special for the team was his ability to manage the players well. In his own words, he often asked himself whether he was the right man for the job on several occasions. Statistically, he can be proven wrong. In the modern era, he is the most successful manager for the team and surprisingly for the management and him, maintain a good relationship with everyone. For Madrid, it was a refreshing and surprising first when he chose to move away from the team instead of being sacked, which is a part of the job at Bernabeu as per Ancelotti.
The next coach of the team will have to be someone who manages stars like Bale and Ronaldo like it was no big deal. They are looking for a new manager now but whoever comes in will have to carry on with Zidane’s legacy, especially now when it appears that Ronaldo will be postponing his decision of leaving the club if he gets a salary hike.