A little more than two months after he said he wasn’t yet ready for the job, Zinedine Zidane has been named Real Madrid manager with Rafa Benitez getting sacked in the middle of his first season. The continuation of Real Madrid’s constant state of trophy producing turmoil by throwing an inexperienced manager in at the middle of a season is seen by many as problematic. With that in mind, the following is just one iteration of the worst case scenario that might unfold.
January 5 — Zidane begins his first training session in charge of Real Madrid by nutmegging Cristiano Ronaldo, who immediately walks off the pitch and tells Florentino Perez to sell him before the January transfer window closes. Convinced that Cristiano is joking, Perez laughs at his request and tells him to return to training, where Zidane promptly nutmegs him again. Paralleling his celebratory “Siiiiii!” at last year’s Ballon d’Or gala, Ronaldo shouts “Noooooo!” to express his displeasure with the situation.
January 9 — Zidane receives an overwhelming show of support from the Bernabeu before his first match in charge and Real Madrid go on to beat Deportivo 2–0. Zidane is loudly jeered throughout the final minutes because 15–0 would’ve been better and going an entire day without jeering someone is widely known to be impossible.
January 12 — Unable to cope with being handed his dream job and then having it yanked away in such quick succession, Rafa Benitez attempts the George Costanza method of going back to work like nothing happened. He disguises himself as a waiter for a banquet in Florentino Perez’s honor to get past Valdebebas security. He tries to take charge of the training session before Zidane comes out, but becomes disheartened and leaves when none of the players recognize him and ask if he’s a member of the groundskeeping staff.
January 14 — Intent on showing up Zidane, Cristiano brings his three Ballon d’Or awards — a trophy his manager only won once during his playing career — to work and polishes them in Zidane’s office. The next day, Zidane wears his World Cup and European Championship winners medals. “Are they for the World Cup and European Championship of being bald?” Ronaldo asks him. “No, for football,” Zidane replies. Cristiano pretends to receive a phone call and walks away.
January 17 — Real Madrid lose to Sporting Gijon. Irate fans show Zidane the respect a club legend deserves by only throwing relatively soft objects at him. No one quite understands why Ronaldo spent the entire match trying to nutmeg his own manager.
January 20 — A training ground bust-up leads to Zidane and Pepe headbutting each other at the same time. Both miss several matches with severe concussions.
February 2 — Cristiano Ronaldo’s record transfer to PSG fails to go through before the window shuts because of a paper jam in Florentino Perez’s fax machine left over from David De Gea’s failed move from the previous summer.
February 8 — Zidane calls up old friend Carlo Ancelotti for advice after a string of poor results. Ancelotti is happy to help, but refuses to speak any language except German as he prepares for Bayern Munich, leaving Zidane unable to understand anything he says. Mainly because Ancelotti has no idea how to speak German.
February 14 — Frustrated by his team’s inability to carry out his vision, Zidane comes out of retirement so he can do it himself. He scores a hat trick, showing up the much younger superstars in his team as Real Madrid beat Athletic Bilbao 3–0. Angry and embarrassed, they all put in transfer requests, demanding moves to clubs with less coordinated managers. Jose Mourinho’s lack of footballing talent suddenly becomes a major selling point in his search for a new club.
February 15 — In an attempt to lift spirits around the club, Zidane convinces Iker Casillas to retire and join him as an assistant coach. However, this plan backfires when Iker cries uncontrollably for 13 straights days over memories of how he was forced out at Real Madrid the first time around.
February 17 — Real Madrid are disqualified from the Champions League when Zidane uses a player he forgot to include on the team sheet as a substitute against Roma. Amidst the ensuing confusion of the club’s second major tournament disqualification of the season, Cristiano Ronaldo nutmegs Zidane.
February 18 — Out of ideas after the abject failure of their golden boy, Real Madrid become the first major club to hire someone based on a joke application comprised entirely of Football Manager video game experience. Florentino Perez hails his own innovativeness at the press conference and refuses to step down as club president. Rafa Benitez serves refreshments to the attending journalists.