It’s rare for a coach to speak in such clear financial terms as Zinedine Zidane did during his Sunday press conference. He didn’t sound like a coach, rather he sounded like the person in charge of personnel and this is partly why he has returned to the club. As he returns for his second stint in the dugout, he has made it very clear that things are going to change.
Even on the day of his hiring he hinted at this and he has done so every time it has been possible since then. On Sunday, he spoke like an accountant. “There are players who can bring in money,” he said, sending out a warning and a statement of intent. Even without stating names, it’s clear which players he is referring to. This all smells like a clear-out is coming.
This was always believed to be the case, but for Zidane to talk about it so openly shows that he really is ready to throw caution to the wind. Having shown he wasn’t scared to push the eject button and leave the club, he now has lots of independence and authority on his return.
More important than having the stomach for such a change is the need to be right about it. And Zidane has proven that he has a footballing sixth sense that is especially impressive.
He was able to spark a dead team into life and take the club to the highest heights. Then he knew when the right time to leave had arrived. Now he has detected a decline in the squad and he is ready to lead the restructuring. It was clear that this was necessary, but there was also a need to say so. That’s why Zidane spoke like an HR director and not like a coach on Sunday.