Zidane is the latest evidence of how coaching a Spanish super-club can be unbearable. First Pep Guardiola and Luis Enrique departed from Barcelona, needing rest, and now Zidane has left Real Madrid. The top echelons of Spanish football have become suffocating.
Zidane’s Exit Marks an Anniversary
As punters who enjoy football game action thanks to the Australian sports betting so widely available will know, when Zidane decamped from his incredibly productive stint as the chief of Real Madrid it marked the 20th anniversary of Jupp Heynckes being sacked. Eight days after he had lead the club to its seventh European Cup title!
The celebrations had barely been finished when Lorenzo Sanz, president of Real at the time, stated that it would have been one of the worst seasons in recent memory if Heynckes had not finished his debut campaign by beating Juventus in the Final for the League.
The German’s crime was finishing fourth in La Liga, which is a crisis according to the Bernabéu, but he wouldn’t be the last manager to feel the heat of Madrid’s pitiless self-regard.
Illustrious Names to Have Fallen by the Wayside
Vicente del Bosque got fired after delivering two Leagues in four seasons, Carlo Ancelotti departed one year after ending the La Decima quest, and Fabio Capello managed just 11 days after the 2007 La Liga win.
Perhaps this is the history informing Zidane’s decision-making?
It’s Not Me, It’s Them
Zidane may as well have said these words regarding his breakup with Real! It was certainly a departure from the usual script: not many instructors get to leave the Bernabéu on their own terms. It’s a dream of many to work there, but it’s hard to argue with Zidane’s decision to go on the offensive when one considers how smothering the top of Spanish football is these days.
There is, after all, a precedent, given that it is now six years since Guardiola declared that four seasons as the Barcelona manager had wreaked havoc with his hairline. He said that he was drained, and that part of his resigning was because he needed to recoup, or fill back up.
This was not a once-off occurrence, either: Enrique, manager for Barcelona from 2014 to 2017, also found the pressure intolerable. He won the treble in his first season, but doubts had already sunk in, and the censure had risen to an undeniable pitch by the time he announced he needed a rest in March of 2017.
Ernesto Valverde has triumphed in La Liga and the Copa Del Rey since he replaced Enrique, but, again, not everyone is well pleased. There have been complaints about how cautious he is, and, after capitulating to Roma in the Champions League Quarter-Final, Barcelona’s hopes of becoming the first side from Spain to complete an unbeaten League campaign in 86 years went up in smoke.
Their losing their penultimate game of the season against Levante may well spell the end for Valverde.