Zinedine Zidane can be Real Madrid's Pep Guardiola, says Ivan Campo
Former Real Madrid defender Ivan Campo has backed club legend Zinedine Zidane to be a raging success as manager at the Santiago Bernabeu, much like Pep Guardiola was at Barcelona.
Zidane replaced Rafa Benitez as Madrid boss in early January, with Real sitting third in the La Liga table behind Atletico Madrid and Barcelona, and Campo has urged the Bernabeu board to give his former teammate more time to make an impact at the club than his predecessor.
"But supporters and club are looking for their own Pep Guardiola. He will be given time and patience to do his job."
Campo says that it's important that the World Cup winner has first-hand experience of the pressure that comes with playing for Los Blancos -- unlike Benitez.
"Zizou is a god! I think that some of the problems affecting Real Madrid are going to be solved immediately," Campo said.
"In order to succeed in a huge team it is mandatory to know what goes on inside the dressing room. Football stars want to play week in week out, but only 11 can play. You need something else than knowing how hard it is to deal with this situation.
"You need to show experience and convey respect. We have seen many situations where it all fell apart because the manager was not able to convey respect; that is the main difference between Zidane and Benitez, for example.
"You can tell him anything even if you are not playing and you are, for instance, Sergio Ramos, James Rodriguez or Gareth Bale. As a footballer, you can only be happy because he is very approachable and he understands all kinds of situations. Joy in the dressing room is essential to succeed in a top club, and Zidane has brought happiness from the first day."
THE BEST OF ESPN FC
- Bell: Liverpool fans make themselves heard
- Cox: Leicester improving | Why Poch should stay
- Okwonga: Man United's market | City's title hopes
- Laurens: PSG's pre-UCL issues | Hertha's curse
- Highlights (U.S. only): Stuttgart 1-3 BVB
- FC TV: Champions League W2W4 | LVG wrong
- News | Transfer | Toe Poke | Fantasy | FC TV | Podcast | MLS
Under Zidane's first two matches in charge, Madrid has won 5-0 and 5-1 respectively against struggling Deportivo La Coruna and Sporting Gijon -- results that Campo says is down to the Frenchman's calming influence in the dressing room.
"The players are going to be much calmer under Zidane," Campo said. "A couple of words will be enough to leave everything clear. It is easier to persuade Cristiano Ronaldo, Bale or Karim Benzema to press the rivals if you are Zidane. He did not like to run but he did not understand football without the ball, which is why he was the first one on the pitch giving 100 percent in order to recover possession as soon as possible.
"That has been Real Madrid's philosophy during their whole history. And that is what I expect to see shortly. If Zidane speaks, you listen.
"He is going to succeed because the Bernabeu support adore him and he knows what is required for success at the club; communication, respect and calmness inside the dressing room."