It finally happened. Zinedine Zidane is officially back in charge of Real Madrid. The 46-year-old Frenchman is back, 10 months after he left the club. He will be succeeding, or rather – already succeeded Santiago Solari, who in turn succeeded him.
Zidane leaving Madrid was a disappointment for the millions of fans of the club. He left Real Madrid after helping the team win three consecutive Champions League titles. Now, however, he’s back at Santiago Bernabeu and will stay with the club until 2022 this time.
Another Frenchman, Paul Pogba has since also commented on Zidane’s return. When asked about where his career is headed, he said that playing for Real Madrid would be a dream for anybody as the club is one of the biggest in the world.
“There is also Zidane as a coach and it’s a dream for anybody who likes football.”
He didn’t express any desire to leave Manchester for Madrid, however. According to the midfielder, he doesn’t know what the future holds for him, but right now he’s at Manchester and he’s happy.
“At the moment I’m happy in Manchester. I play. There’s a new coach,” says Pogba.
Pogba is also expected to play for France during Euro 2020 qualifying round against Moldova and Iceland. The two matches will take place on Friday and Monday respectively. The man is still a prominent member of the country’s national football team.
The former Juventus midfielder evidently loves bringing gifts. He gave all of the fellow members of France’s national team championship rings resembling those often seen in American sports leagues like NBA and NFL.
That’s not all, however. The 26-year-old also complimented Manchester current “Substitute teacher”, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Pogba indicated that he and the current manager placeholder have a “great relationship”.
Pogba wants Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to stay
This comment doesn’t come unexpectedly. It’s common knowledge that Pogba had a strained relationship with the club’s previous manager – Jose Mourinho. The increase in game quality for Pogba and the entire team after Mourinho was sacked has been nothing short of jaw-dropping.
Solskjaer overtook the reigns at Manchester United after Mourinho was let go for producing the worst start of a season for the club in 28 years. And even before that, the manager’s results at Old Trafford have been less than stellar.
Pogba’s relationship with the Portuguese manager started last September after Mourinho stripped the title of vice-captain from him. The media captured footage of the two having a heated argument. Solskjaer took the job of manager from Mourinho in December of the same year.
Despite the direct correlation of the events which a lot of people indicated, Paul Pogba is on record saying that his disagreement with the trainer had little to do with the latter getting booted from the club. He argued that Mourinho leaving the Red Devils was a direct result of his lackluster performance as the manager, and not of some superstar power and/or privileges Pogba supposedly possesses in the roster.
It’s hard to determine the truth of the matter. It’s even harder to suggest that some of the players might have been holding back during their performances over the last few months. A lot of rumors and opinions about who’s to blame for manchester’s performance have been circulating for months.
However, the fact of the matter is – as soon a Solskjaer was at the helm in Manchester United, things started to improve rapidly. Then again, this could easily and convincingly be attributed to the possibility that Solskjaer is simply a better-suited manager for Manchester and managed to carve out a successful strategy in a short time.
This fact likely had a lot to do with Ole’s status in the team. The also 46-year-old Norwegian spent most of his professional career as a football player in a Manchester United shirt. Solskjaer played 366 matches with the Red Devils and scored 126 goals.
It’s not hard to imagine why bringing back such a legendary figure to lead the team could have pushed everyone to take their efforts a step further. In fact, in this regard, Solskjaer has a lot in common with Zidane who played 5 years for Real Madrid and was regarded as one of the best, if not the best player of his era who brought incredible success to the team both as a player and as a coach.
Pogba and the team regained their spirits with Solskjaer in charge
Pogba also stepped up significantly ever since the Norwegian manager took control of the team. The midfielder scored 4 goals in the first 3 matches under Solskjaer. Make of that what you will.
After that, Pogba went on to score 9 goals overall in 17 matches since December. In the interviews, he’s indicated that he believes that the former forward’s arrival to the team gave his teammates “freedom”.
Even though Solskjaer’s deal with Manchester United is only trial mode and will end with the season, it seems extremely likely that he will remain in charge of the team for years to come. Pogba himself has also stated that Ole has done more than enough to deserve a full-time job offer.
And indeed, Ole Solskjaer has improved Manchester’s situation to a point where the team is now qualified for the Champions League quarter-finals after just recently beating Paris St-Germain in a spectacular fashion. Regardless of how Pogba himself might feel about beating his French colleagues, this win means that they’re now 2 points away from reaching Premier League’s top 4.
Considering that by the time Mourinho was let go, Manchester United occupied a humble 6th place, this is indeed a significant achievement for the team and for the manager in charge. Manchester is now three points behind Tottenham who are in the 3rd place.
Considering this, it comes as no surprise that Pogba, as well as reportedly the whole team, are quite eager about Solskjaer keeping his job.
“Of course we want him to stay,” says Paul Pogba, whose contract with Man United expires in 2021.
“The results have been great. I have a great relationship with him; he has a great relationship with the players.”
Pogba is evidently extremely motivated by Solskjaer and his expertise. He appears very happy about the fact that the Norwegian appears to know the club inside and out. The former player seems to know exactly what makes ManU tick, what the club’s strong points are and how to activate them.
“He is a really happy coach that gave confidence back to the players. This gave us the freedom to play and enjoy football again because maybe we lost that with the results we had before.”
According to Pogba and well, the statistics, the results of Solskjaer being in charge have been nothing short of brilliant. He and the rest of the team seem to be over their period with Mourinho and want to completely focus on what’s to come going forward.
“I like to talk about the future because that’s what matters, I don’t like to talk about the past. Maybe we lost confidence, maybe things went wrong. A lot of talking outside that we weren’t used to.” Pogba says.
Experts say Pogba’s Real Madrid talk is nothing serious
According to former Manchester defender Danny Higginbotham and a lot of other spectators and experts of the sport, Pogbas’s comments regarding his future and Real Madrid need not be overanalyzed.
He believes that reading too much into his comment during the recent news conference about Real Madrid being a “dream for anyone” is a pointless endeavor. Experts believe that Pogba has little reason to consider leaving ManU and in fact, appears extremely hopeful about the club’s future.
“Of course, people always say look at Real Madrid look at Barcelona,” Higginbotham says.
“It’s obviously a question that Paul Pogba has been asked. He seems very happy at Manchester United, his performances are suggesting that and at the moment Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is building a team around him.”
So there you have it. All evidence suggests that Paul Pogba is definitely not considering leaving Manchester for Madrid. Zidane might be preparing to achieve some more amazing things with Real Madrid, but Manchester has its own former star returning to change the course of the club’s history and Pogba doesn’t want to miss it.