One of Real Madrid's greatest players wants to try and become one of their greatest head coaches. The question is, can Zinedine Zidane really delight in the dugout the same way he did on the pitch?
Not many footballers have a move named after them. The drag of the ball in a pirouette movement ended in embarrassment for the opponent when Zinedine Zidane performed the move. In truth, most of the moves in Zidane's career have left viewers baffled. His performance in the 1998 World Cup final was perfect, as was the technique he displayed to volley home the winner in the Champions League final against Leverkusen four years later. Even Zidane's infamous headbutt in the 2006 World Cup Final left viewers speechless.
Now comes the hope - and make no mistake his appointment is a hopeful one - that Zidane can deliver the same successful panache in the Real Madrid dugout as he once delivered on the pitch for the Spanish giants. Zidane's appointment is a risk, but is in line with the current trend of club legends unable to resist the temptation of management in Spain. Former midfield giants Luis Enrique (Barcelona) and Diego Simeone (Atletico Madrid) are the head coaches of the current top two clubs in La Liga, and both of them played for those clubs.
As clubs look back for answers to help them move forward, Zidane outlined what his coaching vision is at Real Madrid. "Football with a personal touch, with attacking play, is what I'll aim for," the former France great said at his first press conference at the Santiago Bernabeu, a day after replacing the fired Rafa Benitez. This comes as no surprise from one of football's greatest playmakers, but the lack of experience hangs over the 43-year-old.
That is not to say Zidane hasn't gone in search of some. In March last year, Zidane spent time with Pep Guardiola at Bayern Munich. "Guardiola is Guardiola, and I am going to try and do it the best I can," he said. "I never compared myself to others as a player, and I won't do it as a coach." Over in Munich at around the same time of day, Guardiola said that, although he is a Barcelona fan, he wished Zidane all the best.
Zidane will certainly give his best, but he will likely need more than that to succeed at a club with little patience. His only coaching experience comes from his time in charge of Castilla, Real Madrid's second team. Faced with a club that expects victory with style and a squad full of egos, Zidane will be learning as he goes. On Tuesday, he certainly looked and played the part. "This is a difficult but stimulating challenge, I want to take up the challenge and do my utmost to win titles," said the former midfielder.
There is no risk in appointing Zidane the man. Many of his former teammates believe he is the right man to now guide a team he once lead on the field, and Real Madrid President Florentino Perez has gone all-in on Zidane's character being enough to silence his lack of experience. Zidane the coach, though, remains a doubt. Here's hoping we are left speechless all over again.