By Adrian Bez
Posted 3 hours ago, Just Updated
Zinédine Zidane at the head of the Blueberries for the 2024 Olympics, an attractive idea. NICOLAS TUCAT / AFP
DECRYPTAGE – Beaten by Ukraine on Sunday in the quarter-finals of the Euro U21, the France Espoirs team is difficult to see one year before the Paris Olympics. And if the savior was called Zinédine Zidane?
«I hope I can train soon“. Signed Zinédine Zidane at the microphone of Téléfoot, at the end of June. What if the native of Marseille took the lead of the French Olympic team to lead it to gold in Paris on August 9, 2024? The idea is a dream and might not remain a mere fantasy. One year from the deadline, the Bleuets have just signed another poor performance in a major competition after their defeat in the quarter-finals of the Euro U21 against Ukraine (3-1) on Sunday.
Anger is brewing to claim the head of Sylvain Ripoll, the current coach, with a very mixed record and unable to exceed the first round of the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 as well as to reach the semi-finals of the Euro, objective of the president of the FFF Philippe Diallo.. Here are five reasons why the French Football Federation must make “Zizou” its priority… And offer him a one-year contract for a commando mission.
All the big European clubs are taken
The first man in history to have won the prestigious Champions League three times in a row (in 2016, 2017 and 2018 with Real Madrid), Zinédine Zidane enjoys an undeniable aura with the coaching costume. But the benches of the big European teams worthy of welcoming him are already taken. At Real Madrid, his former mentor Carlo Ancelotti remains firmly anchored in his last year of contract despite the strong interest of the Brazilian selection which awaits him at the end of his contract… in June 2024. At Juventus, Massimiliano Allegri was confirmed in his role and defending champion Napoli chose Rudi Garcia.
SEE ALSO – Zinedine Zidane’s 11 titles at the helm of Real Madrid
In England, Chelsea fell back on Mauricio Pochettino but “Zizou” was never very attracted to the UK anyway. He is not very comfortable with the language of Shakespeare and the local climate. In France, the successor to Christophe Galtier at PSG is finally called Luis Enrique and OM have set their sights on Marcelino after having long dreamed of the return of the prodigal son. If he wishes to grant his wish to quickly find a project, Zidane would therefore have every interest in being tempted by the French Olympic team. “You mustn’t forbid yourself anything, you have to feel things, you have to want them“, Slipped the interested party to Telefoot about a return to France.
He could train Kylian Mbappé
Zidane on the bench, Mbappé on the pitch. The illustrious number 10 and the current holder, the former captain and the new. Around, a slew of young talents. At the end, Olympic gold. The scene is attractive. If Spain dreams of reuniting the two men at Real Madrid, the golden association could hatch in the country. With, in apotheosis of a crazy one-year adventure, the final of the Olympic Games on August 9, 2024 at the Parc des Princes. “When you are a coach and there is a player like him, of course we want to coach himrecently entrusted ZZ to the team. Lots of things can happen. It could happen one day. He is a player who wears the jersey of the France team well. In any case, I admire what he does. It’s beautiful, it’s strong.“As for the PSG striker, he has never hidden his Olympic dream and enjoys the support of his Federation.
The FFF is aiming for nothing but gold
The Olympic Games in Paris, more than an ambition, more than a dream: an appointment with history. The French Football Federation already sees itself on the top step of the podium, forty years after 1984 and the triumph of Henri Michel’s men in Los Angeles. Philippe Diallo, the president, has already put pressure on the clubs, decision-makers to accept the participation of their players in the Olympics. The objective is to send the best pyrotechnicians. Alongside youngsters William Saliba (Arsenal), Eduardo Camavinga (Real Madrid) and Khephren Thuram (OGC Nice), only three players over 23 can apply. If Kylian Mbappé seems to have a designated place, his world champion teammates Antoine Griezmann and Olivier Giroud have also positioned themselves, and the names of newly retired Hugo Lloris and Raphaël Varane are circulating. To lead this talented group, the FFF would benefit from calling on Zinédine Zidane, who is one of the best French tacticians.
The strength of the symbol
Zidane and France, a love story that lasts. The player trained in Cannes has not played or trained in the country for almost twenty years, but his popularity rating is intact. The legend “Zizou” as the savior of a drifting French Espoirs team, a glorious knight in the assault on Olympic gold on his native lands… The evidence! Romantic as hell. Big occasions call for big men and the former number 10 knows how to win. The symbol, in any case, would be powerful.
The Blueberries, while waiting for the Blues?
Didier Deschamps maintained at the head of the France A team until the 2026 World Cup, Zinédine Zidane is waiting. The Marseillaisjust enjoy every day“, cherish these periods “where we are a little quieter“. More than three years is too long. The post was promised to him but the 1998 world champion could not wait indefinitely for his captain at the time to deign to step down. Taking on the Hopes from 2023 would be an interesting springboard for him towards the coveted role. Especially if successful. Because the challenge is huge. The former leader of Girondins de Bordeaux and Juventus has proven that he knows how to win as a coach, but the armada at his disposal at Real Madrid is not comparable with the tricolor pool to prepare for the Olympics. Talented breeding ground that Sylvain Ripoll never knew how to take advantage of. Can Zidane do it?
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