Zinedine Zidane ventured to spoil his training record when he returned to leading Real Madrid 10 months after his resignation, but after he was on the verge of winning the Primera Liga title in his first full season
after his return, he proved to be the ideal man for the task.
And if Real Madrid beat Villarreal today, Thursday, he will achieve his tenth victory in a row since the competition resumed after stopping because of the Corona virus, and will achieve the club's 34th league title, and the first for Zidane since 2017 when he was also in the team leadership.
Although he scored a brilliant 9 titles in his first period with Real Madrid, including 3 consecutive Champions League titles, Zidane was often described by some as only a person in the name of good at
motivating his players.
He was referred to in the Spanish media as doing nothing more than choosing 11 major players from one of the most talented squads in the world, while some detracted from his success by noting that he was lucky.
But this season, Zidane has proven to be a great coach at all levels.
A key factor in the team’s success was improving the defense performance, which received 46 goals last season under the leadership of Jolen Lopetegui and Santiago Solari, before Zidane was persuaded to return in March 2019.
Real Madrid continued to appear shaky on the defensive side, receiving 6 goals in the first 4 games of this season, but his reaction was good and kept his nets clean 10 times in 15 subsequent games.
Real Madrid's defense performance has improved further since the competition was stopped due to the Corona Virus, and has conceded 3 goals in 9 games, and has kept its nets 5 consecutive times for the first time since 2008.
Real Madrid now has the best defense in Europe, and Zidane said, "Even for those who prefer playing offensive football, the defensive side is the most important now."
"We have a great advantage in that, we have a great defense, and above all, every player is committed to what we do. The defense is not about 4 or 5 players, it is related to everyone."
Zidane also surpassed a series of obstacles, as the French coach was in deep trouble when his team suffered a
heavy 3-0 loss to Paris Saint-Germain last September, then lost to a second-class rookie Mallorca in October, and media speculated Spanish that he may lose his position and replace him
Jose Mourinho, who was not associated with any club at the time.
But the coach managed to weather the storm and led Real Madrid to a unbeaten run in 15 league games.
Zidane also had to deal with a series of serious injuries, such as the loss of 11-month Spanish international winger Marco Asensio due to knee surgery, while ankle injuries spoiled the Eden Hazard season.
The French coach also preferred to ignore world-class talents such as Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez, instead he placed his trust in the young Brazilian duo Rodrigo and Vinicius Jr., as well as the
Uruguayan midfielder Federico Valverde, 21 years old.
Evidence of Zidane’s use of his entire squad is that 21 different players have scored goals in the league, and he has revitalized top players who have exceeded their best times, including Luka Modric, Marcelo and Isco.
"Zidane loves us all and we all feel important in the team," said Brazilian midfielder Casemiro.
"I laugh when people say he is just a lucky person, he makes history with this club and I am honored to be my coach, he is the best."