Real Madrid only needs a victory over Villarreal on Thursday to become national champion for the first time since the 2016/2017 season. Commentator Sierd de Vos, who closely follows La Liga on behalf of Ziggo Sport, and journalist Manuel de Juan of the Spanish newspaper AS about the success of the 'Royal'. "Zinedine Zidane is not the best coach in the world, but the best for Real."
During the matchless spring nothing seemed to indicate that Real Madrid would become champion. FC Barcelona was 'just' in the lead and Real was too hit and miss, but after the resumption of the competition the roles were reversed. The team of success coach Zidane won all games in June and July, while Barcelona dropped several stitches.
"Real, in the person of Gregory Dupont, has the second best endurance trainer of La Liga," De Vos says immediately when he has to summarize the difference between the Real before and after the corona crisis. "He set up a disciplined program for the players during the league stop, keeping them fit at the restart."
"Real looked as fresh as a fiddle. FC Barcelona, on the other hand, seems to have taken the conditional aspect much less seriously. In the first five matches after the resumption, you saw that Barcelona was finished after seventy minutes and Real excelled in physical strength and endurance. That contrast has been very important. "
Due to the beautiful Real series and the (sports and managerial) unrest at Barcelona, the gap between the Madrid and the Catalans has now become four points. With only two rounds remaining, nothing seems to stand in the way of Zidane's second league title and the overall eleventh prize as Real Madrid coach.
Real Madrid has been faultless since the resumption of the competition. (Photo: Pro Shots)
'For many Real players, Zidane was an idol'
The 48-year-old Frenchman once again confirms his status as a success coach this season, although little is known about his working method. According to De Vos, the legendary former midfielder, who won the Champions League three times in his first period as coach of Real, knows exactly how to deal with his players.
"He is not considered a master tactician in Spain - his assistant coach David Benotti largely determines the tactic - but he does radiate a bit. Of course, Zidane has experienced everything in his career and knows as a former player how to tell certain boys can give comfort to want to give everything ", says De Vos.
AS journalist and Real-watcher De Juan largely agrees with this. "Many players at Real have had Zidane as an idol and that of course gives him a bit of power as a coach. In addition, you see that trainers who have been successful in Madrid in the past are also very similar in style."
"Zidane is a silent coach, who talks a lot when he has to and prefers to solve a problem that way rather than handing out penalties. A bit like Vicente Del Bosque and Carlo Ancelotti. He may not be the best coach in the world, but currently the best coach for Real Madrid. "
Zinedine Zidane seems to have won his eleventh prize as a coach of Real Madrid. (Photo: Pro Shots)
"Never seen Ramos as motivated as now"
Zidane is also helped this season by an experienced selection, with Sergio Ramos perhaps as the most important asset. The captain, with his 34 years, is still worth gold in the defense of the Spanish leader and also proves indispensable this season with ten league hits.
"Zidane is lucky that Ramos was negotiating a new contract and wanted to prove himself because I have never seen such a motivated Ramos in years. He really takes the lead and pulls the cart," says De Vos, who, like his Spanish colleague De Juan, sees that Real is defensively strong anyway.
The Madrilenians collected only 22 hits in 36 games and in the nine duels after the corona crisis Real only conceded three goals. "After Cristiano Ronaldo left, Zidane knew that if fewer goals were to be scored, there would have to be fewer goals," said De Juan.
"Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois has also played an important role in that. He did not start well at Real, but since November 2019 he is again the goalkeeper that we all saw at Atlético Madrid. Defense is now the strength of this team."
Real's championship game against Villarreal starts on Thursday at 9 p.m., just like the other nine games in La Liga. FC Barcelona plays a home game with Osasuna.
Courtois impresses with football technique at the pool
View the program, the results and the position in La Liga