The newly-appointed Los Blancos manager will certainly not find the job easy.
Fans were shocked when Zinedine Zidane resigned from Real Madrid as the Frenchman was exceptional in his time in the Spanish capital. But, life after Zidane was going to be difficult with rumours surrounding several managers all over Europe. However, Club President Florentino Perez moved swiftly to bring in former Spain manager Julen Lopetegui. The 51-year-old has plied his trade for Real Madrid Castilla as a player and has also worked with Spain at almost all age-groups. He may lack the high-profile club football resume, but his experience in Spanish football is pretty remarkable.
Here are five challenges Lopetegui will face while at the helm of Real Madrid.
5. Player Management
Real Madrid are always known for their star-studded lineup and a dressing room full of big egos. Life under Zidane was pretty good for the Galacticos as we hardly noticed any distress among players and all were pretty happy and proud to represent Los Blancos.
The Frenchman kept most of his players satisfied and provided them sufficient playing time to prove themselves on the field. So, the positive environment among the players was reflected on the field and hence man-management will be a big aspect for Lopetegui, if he wants to get the most out of his players.
4. Replacing big names
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This is another aspect which will be a big challenge for Lopetegui. Cristiano Ronaldo has already left for Juventus. Welshman Gareth Bale also clearly mentioned that he needs more game-time and the former Tottenham man might also be on his way out.
So, the Spaniard will have to break the bank to bring in replacements for these star players, if they eventually depart. In that case, things will be even more challenging for the former Spain boss and it will be interesting to see how he manages to fill the huge void.
3. Playing Style
Since ages, Los Blancos have been known for their fast-paced counter-attacking football. This is the brand of football they are mostly known for and the way they have played through the years. disrupting almost each and every defence in the world.
But, life after Zidane may change a lot, as Lopetegui may adopt his own style of football, which will probably take some time or he may also bring in a new game-play. He has a pretty impressive record with Spain, playing possession-based football, but only time will tell whether the manager will be flexible enough to adapt to life at Madrid or will it be vice versa.
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2. Replicate Zidane’s impressive success rate
In Zidane’s limited time at the helm, the Frenchman proved his mettle by bringing loads of success to the club. So, coming in as his successor will definitely be a challenge for the 51-year-old tactician.
The amount of success and glory the Frenchman has achieved will be hard to replicate, but being able to sustain and build on it is what the Real Madrid board will expect from him.
1. Lack of club football experience
Lopetegui has also managed FC Porto in Portugal
Lopetegui’s managerial resume is nothing exceptional so far. His only club managerial stints have been at Rayo Vallecano and FC Porto in Portugal. Both of these clubs are nothing close to the stature of Real Madrid.
Although, he was the manager of the Spanish national team and knows how to manage top players, management at international level is very different from that at club level. His lack of managerial experience at club level may come in as a challenge, as the 51-year-old will be under severe pressure from the club if results don’t go their way.