Zinedine Zidane: Real Madrid's greatest asset?
Zinedine Zidane was a star for Madrid in his playing days & still gives so much to the club
Whether in the stripes of Juventus, the white of Madrid or the blue of France, Zinedine Zidane was a midfielder worth watching during his playing career.
His time at Real Madrid between 2001 and 2006 saw him win the Champions League with that famous volley as well as a La Liga title.
Zidane has gone as far as to say: "Real Madrid is the most important thing that happened to me," and Zizou is just as loved by the Bernabéu fans and, perhaps more importantly, by club president Florentino Perez. The club legend was appointed Director of Football in 2011 before being announced as Carlo Ancelotti's assistant this June.
Some see Zidane as a potential replacement for the Italian sometime in the future and he is currently earning his coaching badges.
While a Zidane-coached Real Madrid may still be some years away in the future, the ex-star has already proved his worth to the club since his retirement.
It was a phone call from Zidane which convinced the 20-year-old French defender Raphaël Varane to move to the Bernabéu two summers ago. Varane has impressed since and has not let the pressure on his young shoulders worry him, making 35 appearances for the European giant in two years.
His most memorable contributions so far were his two headed goals in Madrid's 4-2 aggregate win over Barcelona in last season's Copa del Rey. Varane's double was the difference in that tie and means Zizou can take credit for another Clásico win.
Zidane has since proved that his persuasive powers were not just saved for Varane. His personal phone calls to impressive Spain Under-21 internationals Isco and Illarramendi have convinced the pair to sign for Real this summer rather than other suitors and more Zidane-inspired signings could be yet to come in the next few seasons.
He has also been persuasive at the exit door of the Bernabéu as well as the entrance as it has been reported that conversations between Zidane and Kaka and compatriot Karim Benzema have resulted in the struggling pair agreeing to stay and try again in the Spanish capital.
His new role as assistant coach to his former Juve boss, Ancelotti, will see Zidane's influence at Madrid stretch to the training pitch this season and that could even help inspire Kaka and Benzema.
The World Cup winner has been seen taking an active role in Madrid's first training sessions since the summer break, putting himself in the mix with stars such as Ronaldo as well as the new arrivals he helped bring in.
Zinedine Zidane has certainly been a busy man in northern Madrid of late. His behind the scenes work and his new training ground role could make the case that the former player is Real's greatest asset, even ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo.
Whatever the case, Zidane is a man Madrid are very lucky to have on board.
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