While the Real Madrid academy continues producing talented players, it is clear that Zinedine Zidane is not the right man to nurture them.
It is quite a shame to see Zinedine Zidane not showing any willingness to see past just a few players. The Real Madrid legend has won countless honors as a player and as a manager. You’d be hard pressed to find a manager who has won so many top honors as a player and as a coach.
But the sad reality is that Zinedine Zidane is exactly the type of manager who you could consider the anti-thesis of the romantic side of football. Today, managers mostly prefer to opt for short-term goals with concepts such as squad development, long-term vision and academy to senior team transition suitable only for teams that don’t have deep pockets.
When it comes to Real Madrid, a football romantic can never be able to see an academy graduate who would progress through the ranks and represent his boyhood club with aplomb for a decade and a half. The days of Raul Gonzalez and Gutti are long gone.
Relying on other clubs for prospects
The Spanish giants may have won countless honors in the last five years but if you were to ask an academy coach about the club’s progress they would point out at the club’s inability to nurture the academy players and give them all the support they need to become mainstays of the senior team in years to come.
And why would you waste your time on a prospect when you can nick one off of another club once that prospect is ready for the big league?
And this is exactly the sort of philosophy that has helped Zinedine Zidane become a manager at Real Madrid for the second time. While the second coming of the legendary Frenchman gives hopes to the club’s fans, it might not be the most welcoming thing for some of the best prospects at the club.
The case of Dani Ceballos is mind-boggling to say the least.
The young Spaniard isn’t wanted at the club. A boyhood Real Madrid fan and someone who worked all the way to the top of the pyramid, Ceballos has no future at the club as long as Zidane is in charge.
After a very complicated end of the season which coincided with Zidane’s second coming, Ceballos is smiling again. The youngster was arguably the stars of the Under 21 European Championships where he guided Spain to another continental triumph.
However, no matter what the world says, what Ceballos achieved in Italy is not enough.
One has to wonder what Zidane and Madrid are playing at?
Ostracized since the return of the French tactician, the youngster has done everything he can to be given the sort of treatment his talent warrants.
Indeed, you can forgive Marca for admonishing Zidane by hitting the nail right on its head.
“If Dani Ceballos hadn’t played for Real Madrid, Real Madrid would have signed him,” read the sports daily.
Clearly Madrid have a habit of looking for solutions outside when they have so many within their camp. While Zidane looks for an energetic midfielder in the mould of Paul Pogba or Christian Eriksen, Dani Ceballos keeps getting overlooked.
It is quite clear that Zidane is not one of those coaches who would take a youngster under his wing and guide him carefully towards greatness. Marcos Llorente saw his route to the first team blocked by Casemiro whose form was patchy at best last season. Yet the tactician stuck with the Brazilian. Llorente has now signed for Atletico Madrid and is definitely going to develop way better than he could have hoped for had he stuck with Zidane.
Not something new
And as AC Milan look to wrap up a deal for Ceballos, one has to say that things could have been different for the young midfielder. After two years, the Spaniard has shown enough that he could become a mainstay in the club’s midfield for years to come. However, Zidane clearly has other ideas.
As a manager whose ideals revolve around winning through expansive recruitment, the former World Cup winner is unlikely to change his philosophy. It is perhaps in Ceballos’ best interests to leave a place where he will never be seen as the solution.
But a comeback is never out of the question.
Who knows the youngster may be signed be the club and its manager a year after they made a mistake in letting him go.