He’s done it again. A year and two days after his future was hanging by a thread in Istanbul, Zidane has once again avoided a critical situation. His job was in danger after losing in Mallorca and the team travelled to Turkey to face Galatasaray, needing to win to keep Real Madrid’s chances alive in the group stages of the Champions League. Following two defeats to Cadiz and Shakhtar Donetsk this year, which were more worrying because of the performances than the results themselves, his job was in danger again.
It seemed that Real Madrid’s trip to the Camp Nou was coming at the worst possible time, but that couldn’t have been further from the truth. Los Blancos needed the most demanding game they could get, against a Barcelona team that would make them play at their best and at a high pace right from the first whistle. The players were also aware that another defeat would probably see their coach go. The truth is that no one would have gotten rid of Zidane, but he’d have gone himself, just like he did before.
Zidane is different is this sense. He doesn’t want to try to see out his contract and pick up his wages if things aren’t going well. He doesn’t care what he’s signed, he wants to enjoy the job and feel trusted by those around him at the club, both in the offices and in the dressing room. With his dazzling track record, he understands better than anyone the enormous demands that come with being the Real Madrid coach. That’s why when things on pitch start to break down and the day arrives where his departure from the dugout seems the best option, he’ll be the first one to suggest it. The club have the obligation to be proactive and to be ready for all possible scenarios and, therefore, the option of bringing in Mauricio Pochettino was already pre-prepared and ready to go, just as it was last season. The only difference is that, this time, Raul Gonzalez is also in the offing.