Manager profiles: Zidane, Allegri chase ‘super coach’ status

The two are world class managers, having successfully surpassed expectations after being hired surrounded by questions marks -- Allegri replacing Antonio Conte in 2014 and Zidane making his head-coaching debut in 2016 after Rafa Benitez was sacked.

Zidane's mantra to success has been his man-management in a star-studded Real Madrid squad. While he has caused some upsets, vis-à-vis Alvaro Morata, the Frenchman has managed the egos of his squad very well.   -  Getty Images

It almost feels Zinedine Zidane was born to guide Real Madrid. He starred in Madrid's 'Galacticos' team as a player, and since taking over as the manager, has already guided the Los Blancos to a Champions League and a La Liga title in under 18 months. Yet, even after these phenomenal triumphs, there is a feeling that the Frenchman is not a tactical magician of the Pep Guardiola / Jose Mourinho mould.

Similarly, his counterpart in the Champions League final, Massimiliano Allegri, has won everything there is to win in Italian football with Juventus. However, Europe's top club football trophy has eluded him so far. The two are world class managers for sure, having successfully surpassed expectations after being hired surrounded by questions marks -- Allegri replacing Antonio Conte in 2014 and Zidane making his head-coaching debut in 2016 after Rafa Benitez was sacked.

All-time CL recordPlayedWinsDrawsLossesGoal DiffPoints
Massimiliano Allegri6529211529108
Zinedine Zidane1912522141

 

Hence the 2017 Champions League final in Cardiff will be special for these coaches; both former players, who will be hoping to seal a spot among the 'super-managers' of all time.

Zidane's man management

Zidane did not have to tinker Real Madrid's formation to get the best out of the side. In fact, his brightest tactical switch in the recent past -- the decision to play Isco in a floating role behind Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema -– was partly forced by Gareth Bale's absence due to injury.

Zidane's mantra to success has been his man-management in a star-studded Real Madrid squad. While he has caused some upsets, most noticeably Alvaro Morata, who reportedly is on his way to AC Milan after growing tired of his bench-warming role, he has managed the egos of his squad very well. His biggest triumph though has been getting the best of Ronaldo by safeguarding the player's well-being through squad rotation.

Unlike previous years, the Portuguese has peaked towards the end of the season, and will be Real's go-to man in the final. Zidane's shuffling policy also gave valuable field-time to promising youngsters Marco Asensio and Lucas Vasquez.

Thank my players please!

Like Zidane, Allegri comes from a school of thought that believes managers should never become the story. The former AC Milan coach has always adhered to an old adage that "the best managers are the ones who do the least damage." Perhaps it's Allegri's ability to direct all the praise to his players that has seen him miss out on a 'super coach' tag even after unprecedented success.

Allegri comes from a school of thought that believes managers should never become the story. The former AC Milan coach has always adhered to an old adage that "the best managers are the ones who do the least damage."   -  Reuters

 

Like most Italian coaches, Allegri likes to start his attack from the defence but unlike the early years where three in the backline was the norm, the coach has chopped and changed his defence this season. The addition of full-back Dani Alves and the sublime form of Alex Sandro has added another dimension to the Old Lady of Turin's backline and the team be will going into the final quietly confident that it can change tactics any time it wants.

There will be no shortage of duels on the pitch on Saturday night when Juve takes on Madrid -- Ronaldo going against the Juventus wall of Gianluigi Buffon, Dani Alves against compatriot Marcelo and Luka Modric defensive duty against Dybala. But it will be the touchline battle of the two of football's gentlemen to be the next 'super coach' that probably decides the outcomes of the match.

With the two gearing up for what promises to be a high-intensity Champions League final, only time will tell who will prevail.

  Dugout videos