Zinedine Zidane stunned Real Madrid fans all over the world by stepping down five days after guiding Real Madrid to their 13th Champions League trophy-their third consecutive Champions League triumph when they gunned down English Premier League side Liverpool in a thrilling match in Ukraine capital, Kiev.
The former France skipper had a successful stint as a Real Madrid manager winning nine trophies during his three seasons in charge at Santiago Bernabeu. His success as a Real Madrid manager was not expected and he has left a long-lasting legacy among Real Madrid fans.
The resignation of Zidane will have both positive and negative impact on the Real Madrid fraternity as they are up to the task of looking for a manager to take up the hot seat left by legendary ‘Zizuo’.
There are Real Madrid careers face uncertainties and there are some who could find a new lifeline with the departure of the French Manager. Here is an in-depth look at the players who are likely to be affected by the resignation of Zinedine Zidane;
#5) Karim Benzema
Benzema celebrates scoring against Liverpool in the UEFA Champions League final
Karim Benzema is entering his tenth season at Real Madrid- that’s really a great achievement for the French Striker who has been part of the Los Blancos success in the past ten seasons.
However, Benzema was a shadow of himself this season as he really struggled in-front of goal at Real Madrid. The French striker managed only 12 goals in 47 appearances for Real Madrid this season. Judging by his previous goalscoring record for the Los Blancos, he had his worst season for Real Madrid.
Despite Benzema’s struggles, he still had the full backing of his compatriot Zinedine Zidane. Now that Zidane has left Real Madrid, Benzema’s future hangs in balance as he is also 30 years old meaning he is past his glory days.
Isco battles for the ball against Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino
Isco has not been able to nail down a permanent starting berth at Real Madrid ever since Zinedine Zidane took over as Real Madrid manager. His game time reduced as compared to his first two seasons under Italian manager Carlo Ancelotti.
The Spanish midfielder has not been happy with the role he’s been playing at the club despite being at Real Madrid for five seasons. He openly echoed his sentiments about life at Real Madrid after scoring a hat-trick for Spain in the 6-1 demolition of Argentina in a friendly match where he said he does not understand why he is not a regular starter at Bernabeu.
The Spanish midfield magician has been linked with moves away from the Los Blancos to several clubs in the English Premier League on several occasions. With the departure of Zinedine Zidane, Isco could be having a lifeline at his Santiago Bernabeu career.
#3) Gareth Bale
Real Madrid broke the world transfer record they set in 2009 when they signed Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo from Manchester United in 2013 when they signed Welsh wing wizard Gareth Bale for a transfer fee believed to be around £86 Million.
Bale played an important role during Ancelotti era at Real Madrid where the famous BBC-Bale, Benzema, and Cristiano guided the Los Blancos to a famous 10th Champions League trophy.
However, during the Zinedine Zidane reign at the Bernabeu, the Welsh forward career had been marred by constant injuries. He, therefore, could not nail down a permanent starting berth for the Spanish giants. That was evident during the UEFA Champions League finals when Bale could only settle for a place in the bench.
Despite starting the match on the bench, it was Bale’s impressive cameo performances that handed Real Madrid their 13th Champions League trophy-their third consecutive Champions League victory as he scored a brace including a stunning bicycle kick goal.
Bale was quick to point out his role at the club after the Champions League finals claiming that he is supposed to be playing every week fueling speculations that he could be heading for a summer exit away from Bernabeu. It’s interesting how Gareth Bale future will be resolved now that Zidane has parted ways with Real Madrid.
#2) Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo has been the poster boy for Real Madrid success in the nine seasons he has spent at Bernabeu. The Portuguese forward has broken record after record winning four Ballon d’Or while at Real Madrid tying him to his fierce competitor Lionel Messi at five apiece.
The Portuguese superstar was linked with moves away from the Bernabeu during the reign of Spanish coach Rafa Benitez as it was reported that Ronaldo had problems with the Spanish gaffer.
Ronaldo returned back to form with the appointment of French and Real Madrid legend Zinedine Zidane and was instrumental in the Los Blancos Champions League victory in ‘Zizou’s’ first season in charge. The Portugal skipper praised the impact of the French Manager at Real Madrid and had been instrumental in their three consecutive Champions League triumph.
However, Ronaldo cast doubt on his Real Madrid future after their UEFA Champions League triumph against English giants Liverpool in Kiev last months. It’s going to be very interesting to see where Ronaldo will be playing next season as he has already been linked with several moves away from the Spanish Capital.
#1) James Rodriguez
James Rodriguez earned a big money move to Real Madrid in 2014 after impressing in the World Cup that was staged in Brazil. The Colombian midfielder impressive performances where he bagged the 2014 FIFA World Cup golden boots convinced the Los Blancos to prise him away from French side Monaco for a transfer fee around £63 Million.
The Colombian was impressive during his first season at Bernabeu under Ancelotti where he played an integral role in Real Madrid’s 10th Champions League glory. However, tables turned when Ancelotti was relieved of his duties and replaced by Rafa Benitez who was later replaced by Zinedine Zidane.
James featured sparingly under Zidane as he was reduced to a bench role as the French manager preferred Modric, Kross and Casemiro as his midfield combination. Rodriguez joined his former Manager Ancelotti at Bayern Munich on a two-year loan deal in order to get more game time and to stay sharp for this year’s World Cup.
The Colombian is entering his second loan season at Bayern Munich with the German giants having an option of making the deal permanent. Due to the resignation of Zidane, James could still have a chance for playing for the Los Blancos.