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Zinedine Zidane is building a strong team at Real Madrid

Friday 23rd September 2016
Zinedine Zidane's managerial career got off to an excellent start as he guided Real Madrid to Champions League glory. Four months later, Real Madrid continue to look impressive: the club has one of the most talented squads in Europe, and Zidane's side currently sit top of La Liga.

In January, Real Madrid legend Zinedine Zidane replaced Rafael Benitez as manager of the Galacticos, and the club has started to reap the rewards for their brave decision to appoint an unproven manager. Zidane seamlessly adapted to his new role at the club; he masterminded Madrid's recent Champions League success, and in their current form, Zidane's side are likely to achieve further success in the near future.
Zidane is an icon at Madrid: he joined the club as a player in 2001 for a world record transfer fee - he went on to make 225 appearances over a six-year period, scoring 49 times. During his career in Spain, Zidane claimed six major trophies with Madrid - including the La Liga title and the Champions League, while also being voted FIFA World Player of the Year in 2003. Madrid possessed some great players when Zidane joined the club; the likes of, Iker Casillas, Fernando Hierro, Roberto Carlos, Luis Figo, and Raul, but the mercurial French midfielder eclipsed them all.

During his six seasons in Spain, Zidane left an everlasting legacy at the Santiago Bernabeu, and since his appointment as manager, a new chapter is beginning to develop, which adds to Zidane's legendary status at the club. Zidane took charge of Madrid on 4 January 2016; he was viewed as a short-term solution until Madrid found an experienced replacement. However, Zidane exceeded expectations and it all began in last season's Champions League.

Within less than five months of being appointed as manager of Madrid, Zidane had delivered success by leading the club to the Champions League trophy with victory over their big rivals Atletico Madrid at the San Siro. Madrid have continued to improve with Zidane at the helm; the European Champions won the UEFA Super Cup at the beginning of this season, and they had also won a club record 16 consecutive La Liga games, but that came to an end recently with their draw at home to Villarreal.
The Madrid players look full of confidence and the club leads the way in La Liga this campaign after picking up four wins and a draw in their opening five games. Madrid have an incredible squad, filled with some of the world's best players: Sergio Ramos, Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale, and Cristiano Ronaldo. However, Zidane recognises the huge importance of building for the future, which is why younger players have been given more game time recently. Zidane is on the road to creating a talented young side at Madrid.

Madrid recently lost their appeal to overturn their transfer ban, which means the Spanish club won't be able to register any new players until 2018. So Madrid are relying on their current squad for the next 18 months; young players will have a crucial role to play. Raphael Varane, Casemiro, Mateo Kovacic, Lucas Vazquez, Marco Asensio, and Alvaro Morata are all 25 years of age or under, and they have appeared in 33 games between them this campaign. Zidane is integrating fresh faces into his side and building a younger team; a team that could dominate in the near future.
Although Madrid's young players have a big role to play this season; the club's experienced stars are expected to ensure their side challenges for major honours. Sergio Ramos commands the defensive line; the Spanish international is a key figure in Zidane's side. As are central midfield duo Luka Modric and Toni Kroos; they control games from the middle of the pitch, and Zidane will rely on them this season to perform at their best. While Karim Benzema is an exceptional goalscorer and his goals will be valuable to Madrid.

Cristiano Ronaldo was instrumental in Madrid's Champions league success last season: he scored an incredible 16 goals. Ronaldo remains Madrid's main attacking threat; the three-times FIFA World Player of the Year winner is still the king of the Bernabeu. However, Gareth Bale is poised to take that particular title in the near future. Bale arrived at Madrid three seasons ago, and despite having initial problems settling in, the Welsh international is now showing what he's capable of. Bale is consistently delivering top class performances for Madrid; his strong dribbling and goalscoring prowess has turned him into one of the best players in world football. During the next couple of years, Bale will become the main man at Madrid.

Zidane has proven himself capable of managing at the highest level over the past nine months: The Madrid manager has already won the biggest prize in European club football; he's also improved his side's consistency in La Liga, which bodes well for the future. Zidane allows his players to play with freedom on the pitch, with emphasis placed on expressing their individual talent. Younger players are beginning to play a bigger part at the club, while the established Galacticos are playing to their full potential. Zidane's methods have produced excellent results up to now; Madrid are capable of claiming more major trophies this season.
Danny Glendenning

Passions include reading, sport, and nights out with friends. A football fanatic whose writing career began in May 2016. Now 30 years old, lives in South Yorkshire - local team is Doncaster Rovers, although heart lies with Arsenal. Contributing editor for It's Round And It's White. Current claim to fame is an interview with Ron Atkinson. Always looking for work, either editing or writing. Contact via email: Dannysg1988@outlook.com. Or Twitter: @DannySG1988.



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