It is a lot of Real Madrid content, but they have taken their first right move in a long time in heavily persuading Zinedine Zidane to be back. With this landscape-altering move, the situation of the Galacticos had to be reassessed.
The biggest problem with Zidane will probably be this current deck of cards. He inherited the best soccer team on the planet when he first took the job as an interim manager with the likes of prime Ronaldo, Ramos, Kroos and Modric. The elephant in the room is the departure of Ronaldo and he certainly did leave an irreplaceable void (in a shape of a hattrick against Atletico Madrid). It is still the same squad, but older and been through a lot of wear and tear both physically and mentally with multiple consecutive long seasons. Zidane does have some young talent in hand that played a rotational role in Vinicius, Odriozola and Reguilon, but they are not really at that level yet, especially the latter two fullbacks. This will really test Zidane’s ability to “shuffle the deck,” so to say.
The return of Zidane also will very likely mean he will have more control over the overall team operations, and it should be fun trying to dissect what Real is doing and what does Zizou want from that. Talking about the Galacticos transfer policy is fun, but it surely will be a huge judgement criteria for the Frenchman. The three top targets are Neymar, Hazard and Eriksen, and Real will be stepping into a trap. According to a recent Ryan O’Hanlon piece that took a deeper dive into Real Madrid, a core point mentioned was the youth that was on the team with that four-time Champions League-winning side. The age of the players joining Madrid was staggering: Ronaldo at 24, the whole defense joined when they were under 21, Benzema at 21, Kroos at 24 and the list goes on even to the bench. That was their success formula, and scouring for established stars would not be able to help them long time. Especially with Neymar and Hazard, they both have their fair share of mileage on their bodies and time will tell how good they can maintain that magic on their feet. Zidane must build the team with the future in mind as well, and I doubt that would rub Florentino Perez well. There are also players that should be featured more now that Zidane’s back in the likes of Isco and Marco Asensio.
However, Zidane has that undeniable factor that made him work the first time round and sets himself as a favorite for this vacancy 200-odd days removed from his resignation as well. As a club legend, he has the calling power to at least bring the dressing room together, which is one of the featured problems of this squad now. Let’s see if he can continue to take command and simply put his players in the best position to succeed, much akin to his previous record-breaking spell.