Homegrown: Zinedine Zidane & 5 Other Real Madrid Players Who Went on to Manage Los Blancos

Zinedine Zidane has worked wonders at Real Madrid. Since taking over first team duties in January 2016 as a novice at top level management, the former Ballon d’Or winner as a player became the first boss in history to lift back-to-back Champions League trophies with trophies in 2016 and 2017 – while also pipping fierce rivals Barcelona to La Liga title last season.

The pressure as a Real Madrid player is suffocating as tabloid attention and internal politics are virtually unparalleled in the capital. 

Therefore, it is very rare in the game that an ex-player will also take the hot seat as manager of the club, especially given the expectations of a club with a winning culture like Real.

However, here are six ex-Madridistas who later in their career became the man in the dugout at the Santiago Bernabeu, with varying levels of success.

1. Zinedine Zidane

Real Madrid's Zinedine Zidane scores the second go

This iconic picture shows the moment Zidane wheels away in joy after a magnificent volley in the Champions League final against Bayer Leverkusen in 2002 to cement his place as one of the greatest players of all time. 

As manager of Los Blancos, he has somehow enhanced his status as a football great even further by becoming the first manager to win consecutive Champions League titles, while also lifting a league title in imperious fashion and nurturing young talent like Marco Asensio.

2. Bernd Schuster

Real Madrid's German coach Bernd Schuste

An important figure in Spanish football during the eighties and early nineties, German international and European Championship winner Bernd Schuster is a rare example in La Liga of a player who featured for all of: Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atlético Madrid. 

Winning two La Liga titles and one Copa Del Rey, he was well like by the Real fans, despite his Barça past.

As a manager, Schuster spent just one full season as Real Madrid boss, helping Los Blancos to a La Liga title in 2008. However, his confrontational style and failure in Europe led to his resignation in December of his second campaign.

3. Rafa Benitez


Rafa Benitez worked wonders as manager at Liverpool with a Champions League victory back in 2005, after surprise La Liga titles for Valencia in 2002 and 2004. However, his time as a Real Madrid man did not go quite to plan,

He started out as a young player in the Real Madrid Castilla, leaving the Santiago Bernabéu after failing to break into the first team. 

After success as a manager later in his life, he hoped to achieve what he never could as a player as the chief commander in charge of Los Blancos when appointed Real Madrid boss in 2015. 

However, he lasted only six months at the helm, and was replaced by legendary figure Zidane.

4. Vicente Del Bosque


Iconic coach Vicente Del Bosque is a national hero after helping Spain lift their first World Cup in 2010. 

As a player at the Santiago Bernabéu, he featured in a period of dominance with Real Madrid lifting four La Liga titles, as well as four Copa del Rey trophies.

He took this form into management, as Del Bosque guided Madrid to two Champions Leagues, and as many league titles. 

Shockingly, at the height of the club’s Galactico period, this was not enough to please the Madrid board, who decided to not renew his contract after clinching the league title in 2003.

5. Jorge Valdano

Soccerex Americas Forum - Day 2

A World Cup winner in a Diego Maradona inspired Argentina side, Jorge Valdano is often overlooked as a secondary figure to greater players for both club and country. 

However, during his time at Los Blancos, Valdano performed impressively up front and bagged two La Liga trophies and two UEFA cups in the eighties.

As manager of the club between 1994 and 1996, he lifted one league crown but never earned the same status he had as a player. 

An outspoken individual, he also had a spell as director at the Santiago Bernabéu, but was moved on in 2011.

6. Alfredo Di Stefano

Real Madrid CF v SL Benfica - UEFA Youth League

Perhaps saving the best for last, Alfredo Di Stefano was a Real Madrid club great before his sad passing in 2014. 

Di Stefano created a dynasty in the capital and amassed an amazing five European Cups and eight league titles. He helped to make Real Madrid the most desired team in the world for any player by ushering in a new era of dominance through majestic play in attack.

As a manager during two separate stints, the ‘Blond Arrow’ had less success as a coach, with a terrible first spell in charge as they failed to lift a trophy between 1982 and 1984, and famously lost to a Sir Alex Ferguson led Aberdeen side in the European Cup Winners’ Cup final.

In his second spell in the 1990/91 season, Di Stefano did at least guide his team to a Supercopa de España.



09 2017
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