VIEWS FROM SPAIN: Graves at Zinedine Zidane are ridiculous, Real Madrid boss is a great coach

When Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid was eliminated from the Champions League by Manchester City last season, an incredible run for the French coach came to an end.

Since the takeover in January 2016, Zidane has never been eliminated from the competition, winning nine knockout rounds and three finals in a row.

If his team were to beat Chelsea, he would be 90 minutes away from Carlo Ancelotti and Bob Paisley as a four-time European Cup winner as a coach.

Zinedine Zidane is a great coach despite the Frenchman not getting the credit he deserves

Still, no statues are planned in Madrid and he is still disparagingly referred to by some as the ‘selector’, someone who has done nothing but choose the team for those three finals and the two La Liga titles he has also won.

It is difficult to say why. His lack of interest in making it successful about him has something to do with it. There is also a casual atmosphere about him that makes it too easy to conclude that success in Madrid has fallen into his lap.

On Monday, he headed through another potentially difficult press conference, despite Madrid reporters trying to tease him or worry that referee Danny Makkelie would retaliate on behalf of UEFA.

The Real Madrid boss is still disparagingly referred to by some as the ‘selector’, someone who has done nothing but choose the team for the final and LaLiga titles he has won.

Zidane rarely gets confused and rarely goes to a press conference with a message. Even if he does, the fact that Spanish remains his second language to a great extent means what he says is more colloquial than polished.

“My players are the puta madre (f *** ing great),” he said at a press conference last December. On Monday, he said Madrid was jodido (screwed) if they worry too much about the referee. It’s his natural way – say it as you see it. He was the same as a player.

A recent ESPN documentary about the Galactico period flashes back to the 2003-04 season, when Madrid ended up without a trophy because over-reliance on the expensive superstars had exhausted them all.

In the second leg of the Champions League quarter-final against Monaco, Madrid won 5-3 in total at the Stade Louis II at half-time. But Zidane told Monaco’s Ludovic Giuly as they walked off the field together that Madrid was dead on their feet.

Guily told Monaco’s dressing room and, encouraged, they came back to score twice and reach the semi-finals.

Zidane blurted out a similar confession after the recent win over Barcelona when, instead of offering rare praise, he said: ‘We are physically on our limit. We struggle to finish matches. ‘

Victories against Barcelona and Liverpool had some of his fiercest critics saying they would question him no more

Zidane outwitted Jurgen Klopp in the Champions League quarter-final

Again, it wasn’t as much of a message as Zizou thought out loud, after outwitting Ronald Koeman, as he would later do with Jurgen Klopp.

In those victories over Barcelona and Liverpool – and Atalanta in the last 16 – some of his fiercest critics said they would never again doubt or undermine his role.

Diario AS declared ‘Zidane makes magic’ as they cheered the way he switched between formations and tactics: patient build-up to pull Atalanta out of position, wingers running in behind Liverpool’s high defensive line and an additional midfielder for the Barcelona full-backs. to nullify.

In early February, he told reporters, “What makes me laugh is the way you ask if every time we have a bad game I get the sack.”

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