It's not all peaches and cream for the Real Madrid and France legend, writes Tim Stannard...
The big presidential powers of Florentino Pérez have certainly seen some action of late. In Monday’s wafflings from La Liga, the blog reported that the Real Madrid head honcho had to glance menacingly in the direction of Cristiano Ronaldo after the Portuguese forward observed he was not on board with the club's transfer dealings.
- Atletico Madrid B 2-1 Castilla
- Castilla 1-2 Getafe B
- Fuenlabrada 1-0 Castilla
Florentino may be called into action again before too long by firing Zinedine Zidane, who is currently coach of a Castilla side languishing in the third tier of Spanish football and bottom of the table with zero to show from three games this season.
Legend without a cause
Zizou's current role is his third since joining in 2010. Pérez always likes to have some familiar faces about to keep the supporters feeling nostalgic, as well as that whole reflected glory thing.
The first job saw the former superstar as a sort of Minister without Portfolio, with an office at the training ground to go with it. Aside from being a sort of player/board-liaison type, Zidane did not have a great deal to do under José Mourinho, who had little time for his president’s pet plans. The Frenchman himself admitted he was not expecting anything more, with Mourinho already having his own people in place.
Carlo Ancelotti then brought the World Cup winner into his coaching setup to work with individual players (especially Karim Benzema), as well as spending matches sitting on the bench to gain experience.
The feeling in Madrid suggested Zizou would take over from the Italian in 2016 when Ancelotti’s contract runs out. What better way to mould the manager to be than by paying his dues with the side’s finest youngsters?
Unfortunately, though, not everything has gone to plan. Real Madrid Castilla prop up the rest in the Segunda B, Group 2 division (of four) after Sunday's loss to Fuenlabrada at the brilliantly named Estadio Fernando Torres – a tribute to the hometown kid done good. For a while.
As the only team without a point in the league, Castilla – an outfit with all the resources of the club’s youth system to call on – are languishing behind the likes of Socuéllamos, Leioa, Sestao River and even Rayo Vallecano’s B team.
An example of what the French coach is experiencing was reported by AS, whose correspondent wrote that Zidane had requested his own office by the visitor's dressing room. Apparently, a broom cupboard in its very literal sense was all that could be offered up, and the request was politely declined.
The hard way
Of course, a sacking is miles out of the question unless Pérez really is looking to put his head on the guillotine in the Spanish capital.
LLL is sure that once Zizou finds his feet in what are considerably testing waters in Spanish football – think Conference vibe and facilities – then there is no reason why the coach cannot follow in the footsteps of Pep Guardiola, who cut his teeth trudging about the recreation grounds of Spain with eventual success.
At least Zidane is willing to learn about the perils and pitfalls of football management the hard way. And for that, LLL salutes you.