Algerian-born Frenchman, Zinedine Zidane stunned the football world when he announced his departure as Real Madrid manager barely five days after leading the club to an impressive third consecutive win of the UEFA Champions League. The world can now look back at his great moments as the club’s manager.
1. Termination of FC Barcelona’s 39-Game Unbeaten Run
He did the near impossibility after replacing former manager, Rafael Benitez at the beginning of January 2016, following a poor first half to the season, he was saddled with turning around the tide by catching up with the league leaders, FC Barcelona. They met three months later. Zidane’s side ended Barça’s 39-game unbeaten run thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo’s late winner, with the tie finishing 2-1 win at the Nou Camp, cutting the deficit at the top of the table to seven points.
Despite failing to catch the Catalan side at the top of La Liga that season, Zidane made a piece of history by becoming the first Real Madrid manager to win his inaugural Clasico match since Bernd Schuster in 2007.
2. First Champions League Title
In what was a reply of the 2014 Champions League final, Zidane’s first season in charge at Real would end with helping the club secure their 11th trophy in the competition.
Played under the lights of San Siro against Atletico Madrid, the game would be decided with a penalty shootout following a tense 1-1 draw after extra time. Juanfran would prove to be the unlucky individual with his spot kick hitting the post, setting the stage for Ronaldo to convert his penalty and provide Zidane his first piece of silverware as manager at the club.
3. 40-Game Unbeaten Run
Ending Barcelona’s 39-game unbeaten run the previous season, Zidane’s Madrid went one better during 2016/17, as a 3-3 draw in the second leg of their last 16 Copa del Rey clash against Sevilla took their unbeaten run to 40 games.
In what is the longest unbeaten run by a side in Spanish history stretching back to a Champions League quarter final first leg defeat to Wolfsburg in April 2016, Madrid’s run would include winning the previously mentioned Champions League as well as the UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup.
Sevilla however would be the side to end the streak with a 2-1 win in the league the following game, although the 40-game unbeaten run would be another piece of history accumulated by Zidane whilst manager at Madrid.
4. La Liga & Champions League Double
Zidane ended the 2016/17 season in style, guiding Madrid to a La Liga and Champions League double in his first full season in charge.
Winning Madrid their first league title since 2012 was an achievement in itself, while overcoming Juventus in the Champions League final would see Los Blancos and Zidane etched into the history books once more.
A 4-1 win in the final hosted at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium would be Madrid’s 12th success in the competition, becoming the first side since Milan in 1990 to back-to-back Champions League finals and the first side to do so under the revamped format of the competition.
5. Starting 2017/18 With More Silverware
Picking up where they left off in the Welsh capital the previous season, Madrid would start the 2017/18 season with yet more silverware.
After beating Manchester United in the UEFA Super Cup final, Madrid would claim two consecutive Clasico wins to secure a 5-1 aggregate win over Barcelona to claim the Supercopa. These two trophies took Zidane’s tally to seven in just over a season at the half at the club, putting him level with Vicente del Bosque as the club’s third most successful manager in their history.
6. 8 Major Honours
No sooner had Zidane won his seventh trophy as manager at Madrid, a second FIFA Club World Cup triumph would see the Frenchman overtake Del Bosque and put him level with Luis Molowny with eight major honours achieved, a record only bettered by the legendary Miguel Munoz.
A 1-0 win against Brazilian side Gremio proved to be enough in the UAE to cap a fine 2017 for both the club and Zidane, who had won FIFA’s Best Men’s Coach just a couple of months prior.
While the domestic season didn’t go to plan, Zidane would leave Madrid with yet another winner’s medal in what would prove to be his final game in charge at the club.
Facing Liverpool in his and Madrid’s third consecutive Champions League final appearance in Kiev, Zidane’s habit of creating history would occur once again following their 3-1 against Jurgen Klopp’s side.
Becoming the first side since Bayern Munich in 1976 to win three successive European Cups, Zidane joined the likes of Bob Paisley and his former mentor Carlo Ancelotti in winning the tournament three times as a manager, while he became the first manager to win it in three successive seasons and Madrid’s second most successful manager outright.