Revealing intimate footage of Real Madrid's preparations and celebrations from the 2018 Champions League final, an in-house documentary appears to demonstrate the extent to which certain players dictated what was to occur on the pitch; fueling further speculation as to the exactitude of the role Zinedine Zidane played within the club.
Departing the club after leading Real Madrid to their third successive Champions League triumph in just two and half seasons of top level management, it was widely assumed that the French manager acted primarily as a facilitator for a squad of astounding individual players.
Contrary to contemporaries such as Pep Guardiola or Jurgen Klopp, Zidane was scarcely considered to be a managerial 'mastermind' - the nature of his outstanding success in the role usually being attributed to his acute man-management skills.
Footage from the documentary film concentrates one scene on a three-way discussion between Sergio Ramos, Dani Carvajal and Luka Modric prior to the team's Champions League final clash with Liverpool in Kiev.
With the Carvajal speaking initially, it is intriguing the level of detail into which the Spaniard will go when deciding how best to counter Liverpool's free-scoring forwards.
We have to put a lot of pressure on them. They get the ball back and combine fast. If we can stop that, and be close to their 3 forwards ...
When it is the turn of Ramos to speak, certain Liverpool fans will undoubtedly find some irony in his initial call for "no silly fouls." Conceding that Liverpool "are very strong in the air," it is his contention that Real's best chance of scoring will be on their own counter-attacks.
However, going into even greater detail about their approach, the subsequent discussion between Carvajal and Modric goes into plans regarding shape and the execution of runs; details, one imagines, that a coach like Guardiola or Klopp would not leave to the player's own devices.
DC: If their full-backs go way up, you can't chase them all the time because by 60 minutes you'll be dead. Let's just pick our battles.
LM: Just like against Juventus, you know? We played the same way, and they did too.
DC: Let their full-backs have it, we'll just let them have it there.
Perhaps something of an overstatement regarding the influence Zinedine Zidane yielded over tactical matters, either way, one suspects that the experience amassed by the players in questions leaves them in as capable a position as any to make such calls.
You can watch the footage below.
— Real Madrid C.F. 🇬🇧🇺🇸 (@realmadriden) September 23, 2018