Former Real Madrid star David Beckham believes Zinedine Zidane should remain as manager of the club even if he's unable to guide them to victory in the UEFA Champions League final against Atletico Madrid.
According to Spanish magazine XL Semanal (h/t AS), he said:
Madrid needs stability and continuity. It'd be good for Zidane to carry on for a while there and keep the players he has now. Even if they don't win the Champions League they should give him a chance and let him work. Stability is the key, it's just the base for all things in life and business.
The Englishman does not see himself pursuing his former team-mate into coaching, though:
No, I wasn't born to coach, but Zizou was. As well as being a great friend, he's also the most passionate man about football and Real Madrid that I've ever met. It's natural that he ended up managing there. He has a difficult job, because in the past five years Real are up against the best [Barcelona] in history.
Zidane was appointed in January after Rafa Benitez was sacked just halfway through his first campaign at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium with the club five points behind rivals Barcelona in La Liga.
After their 1-0 defeat to Atletico at home in February, Spanish football writer Andrew Gaffney believed the Real team were no better than they were under the Spaniard:
Andrew Gaffney @GaffneyVLC
Keep telling yourself Zidane is a better fit for Real Madrid than Rafa Benitez. #nothingschanged2016-2-27 15:49:06
However, due to his accomplishments as a player the Frenchman seems to command more respect from the players than the somewhat unpopular Benitez did, and he is afforded more leeway with the fans, too.
In April's El Clasico, Zidane fielded Casemiro ahead of James Rodriguez—a move that gave balance to the side and helped them triumph 2-1. Against Barca in November, club politics and fan pressure seemed to force Benitez to opt for Rodriguez, and the Blaugrana duly won 4-0 as they overran Los Blancos in midfield, per football journalist Dermot Corrigan.
Zidane guided Real to six league wins from six that month, earning him La Liga's managerial award for April:
Real Madrid's Zinedine Zidane named Liga BBVA Manager of the Month for April. https://t.co/rT008SnQA7 #LaLiga https://t.co/7TIr7DJyhD2016-5-19 11:30:34
Further, while his side ultimately finished one point behind Barca, under his care the team picked up more points than their opponents following his arrival, per AS:
AS English @English_AS
Good morning! Zidane, with the best starting figures of any Madrid coach, won his own league battle. https://t.co/f6pZmcY7AE2016-5-16 06:21:33
While a defeat to Atletico in the Champions League final would be a bitter blow to Zidane, the club and the fans, the 43-year-old undoubtedly deserves another season at the Bernabeu.
Beckham, who described Lionel Messi as "from another planet," was also drawn on the perennial debate between the Argentinian and Cristiano Ronaldo. He believes comparisons between the two are not worthwhile, however:
That debate doesn't make much sense to me. They're both unique, a bit like Zidane in his day, once in a generation players, we'll remember having Messi and Cristiano together! At the same time! Nobody has got to that level and stayed there for so long. Anyone who knows them always underlines their will to keep getting better, they want to be the best.
Indeed, both have reached incredible numbers yet again this season—Ronaldo has 51 goals and 15 assists in all competitions, while Messi has 41 and 24, respectively.
The Argentinian has won yet another La Liga title and could win the Copa del Rey, while Ronaldo may win his second Champions League title in three years.
Though many will have their own preference, the pair are certain to enter the annals of football history alongside the greatest ever to play the game, and they'll be sorely missed when they finally hang up their boots.