MADRID: Spanish media expressed scepticism Tuesday about the prospects for football hero Zinedine Zidane as Real Madrid coach after his sensational appointment.
All said that Real president Florentino Perez was taking a risk naming the French World Cup “legend” who has no experience running a team of superstars.
Perez announced Monday that the three-time world player of the year would take over from Rafael Benitez, who was sacked after just seven months struggling to win over Madrid’s fans and leading players such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos.
“The problem of coaches is like that of melons: until you open them you don’t know if they are sweet or inedible,” wrote the Marca sports daily — the most read in Spain.
“A risky operation albeit with possibilities,” it added in a separate article.
“The Frenchman is a football legend and a great figure of Madrid,” added Marca “But his coaching experience is inversely proportional to his excellent footballer’s experience — limited … and controversial.”
The 43-year-old’s coaching experience has been limited to a season-and-a-half in charge of Madrid’s feeder team Castilla. The team failed to secure promotion from Spanish football’s third tier last season.
El Pais daily also emphasised that Zidane was “a legend without coaching experience.”
Newspapers were nevertheless awed by his superstar status, with his face staring out from the front pages of Spain’s many sports dailies.
“La Soluzzion” headlined Marca.
“Florentino discovers that Benitez was the problem and all of a sudden finds the solution: Zinedine Zidane,” wrote As sports daily.
Many dailies were critical of Perez’s management of the club, dubbing him the “shredder of coaches.” Zidane is the 11th coach to be named in Perez’s reign.
And some gave Zidane the benefit of the doubt, pointing to the precedent of Pep Guardiola, a legend as a player who graduated from a season in charge of Barcelona’s B team to become the most successful coach in the club’s history.
“El Guardiola de Florentino,” wrote the Sport daily.
“Finding a ‘Guardiola’ had been the obsession of Florentino Perez for a while, even if it was a risky option.”