In the current context of Andrea Pirlo’s job insecurity, Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane ignited another fire following his side’s 3-1 triumph over Liverpool in the Champions League quarter-finals on Tuesday night.
The Italian media have been relentless in their reporting of Pirlo’s future, with some outlets believing that Juve’s upcoming bout with Napoli may well be his last should the Bianconeri taste defeat. There’s also been talk of a Massimiliano Allegri reunion in Turin.
Zidane’s future in Madrid, meanwhile, has never been totally secure this term despite guiding Los Blancos to the La Liga title last summer. There were questions raised whether Zizou was the right man to spearhead Real’s exciting upcoming generation – best depicted by Vinicius Junior’s stellar performance against the Reds – but the Spanish giants’ recent upturn in form has seemingly quashed those doubts.
Nevertheless, the idea of Zidane walking on his own accord at the end of the campaign is still plausible.
A return to Turin?
Following Real’s impressive first-leg triumph over a hapless Liverpool on Tuesday night, Zidane spoke to Sky Italy.
After debriefing the contest, the Frenchman then spoke about his relationship with Italy, Juventus before teasing a potential return to Turin.
“And here is the joke about Italy: It is always in my heart, Juventus has always been important for me, I spent five years in Turin. If you will see me again in Italy as a coach in the future? I don’t know, I’m here for now. Let’s see,” he concluded with a cheeky grin.
Is there anything to it?
We don’t know. Zidane may have just been toying with the Italian media somewhat, but the idea does seem viable.
The Frenchman spent five years at Juventus between 1996 and 2001 before securing a world-record move to Real Madrid. He claimed six honours under Marcello Lippi, including two Scudetti.
His former teammate, Alessandro Del Piero, meanwhile, spoke about Zidane’s time in Turin, via the Sky Italia report: “Zizou had some fantastic years with us,” said the former Juventus captain.
“He had an incredible growth thanks to the qualities he already had inside. He took on a mentality that is what Juve had and that is: always give your best in every match, when you win you already think to the next race and when you lose it’s a big problem.”
Del Piero also commended his unassuming, laissez-faire approach to management: “Despite his successes as a player and as a coach, Zidane always continues to give the right weight to his work, he always tries to stay a step behind and does not try to take all the credit, quite the contrary. Leave a lot of space for players to grow.
“He works behind the scenes, just like a great coach loves to do. I think he has this inside and it showed it from the first moment,” he added.
Zidane may well have planted a seed in the brains of Andrea Agnelli & Co. with his cheeky smile to Sky Italy on Tuesday night and all we can say is: watch this space.