The king is no longer sacred: without his immunity yesterday, Zinedine Zidane tackles the first cleaver game of his second term as Real Madrid coach, eager to demonstrate that the promised revolution is on Wednesday in Paris in the Champions League (9:00 pm / 7:00 pm GMT).
. High expectations
By returning to the merengue arena last March, "Zizou" has agreed to put back into play the impeccable record of his first stint on the bench, these three C1 conquered in three years (2016-2018).
If he enjoyed the status of football icon and savior of the Real, his unexpected return has raised the highest expectations: it's up to him to restart a team in disarray last season, no right to the error. "A bigger challenge", in his eyes.
The Madrid press, formerly unanimous about him, now reserves the same treatment as any Real coach: limited benevolence.
"He has lost immunity and has ceased to be untouchable for fans," said Marca, Spain's most widely read sports daily, criticizing Zidane's tactical choices and his too much loyalty to the old grunts of the day. 'effective.
In addition, the 300 million euros spent by Real on the transfer market require immediate results. And the summer performances were not very reassuring, including a 7-3 defeat in friendly match against Atlético Madrid in late July, then two draws in four days of La Liga.
But Zidane does not care critics. "If I had thought about my personal situation before coming back, saying" I'm taking a risk when I get back, "I would not be back, I do not think about my image," he said last month.
. Initiated reforms
Upon his return, Zidane promised "change" but his "French Revolution", as it was called by the press, takes a little time to materialize ... the fault of the many injuries that disrupted the workforce and the necessary adaptation time of the summer reinforcements.
"When we are all good physically, all well in the rhythm, we will hurt," promised Zidane, who has finally recovered his rookie rookie Eden Hazard, back from injury: "It will do us good."
Despite everything, the media joked about the lack of renewal and the "Real Madrid vintage" aligned by the French coach, with Ramos, Basel, Modric, Kroos, Benzema, Varane ... who were all already there in 2013!
"ZZ", he repeats that he is very satisfied with his squad, even if Paul Pogba, coveted, remained at Manchester United, and even if the unwanted Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez have not found a way out .
Moreover, having reinstated Welsh and Colombian, very good in recent weeks, is to the credit of the French. And his aura with the players remains powerful.
"He is very listened to because he has lived as a player, because his career as a coach is exceptional," said defender Raphaël Varane at AFP.
. Cleaver "exciting"
In front of Paris, Zidane will be in his element. It is for this kind of chills that he has plunged back. And this is the first real game to stake since the start of his second term on March 11. Six months of waiting!
"It's an exciting game, great to play," he said. "It's going to be wonderful for everyone."
The Frenchman has a special relationship with the Champions League, which he won as a player (2002) and as assistant coach (2014) before his triple head coach.
The Marseillais also keeps good memories of his last visit to Paris, where his Real had won in the eighth in 2018 (2-1, after a 3-1 success on the way to Madrid).
In the fetish competition of Real, 13 times European champion (a record), Zidane coach has no right to the error in Paris. But Zidane the competitor loves it: he is never more comfortable than the neck on the guillotine, as in this quarter-final knockout against Wolfsburg in 2016 (0-2 then 3-0).
In short, for the revolution "Zizou", the big night is Wednesday!
© 2019 AFP