David Beckham believes Real Madrid should give former teammate at the club, Zinedine Zidane, time to succeed even if the French great fails to inspire them to victory in the Champions League final later this month.
Zidane fell just short of steering the club to La Liga glory, with Real finishing one point behind Barcelona, but can claim his first title since replacing Rafa Benitez earlier this year in the May 28 Champions League final against city rivals Atletico in Milan.
“Madrid needs stability and continuity,” Beckham said in an interview with a Spanish magazine.
“It would be good if Zizou (Zidane) continues for some time and that they maintain the players they have today. Even if they don’t win the Champions League, it would be good to let Zizou work. Stability is key.”
Former England captain Beckham played with Zidane at Real from 2003 until 2006 before the French great retired from football.
“Besides being a great friend, he is the person that is most passionate about football and Real Madrid that I have met and the best player I’ve ever played with,” Beckham said.
Zidane was Carlo Ancelotti’s assistant when Real won the Champions League and had been coaching Real’s reserve team, Castilla, in the third division before being named Real’s 11th boss in 12 years.
He was named La Liga’s Manager of the Month for April, picking up the award for the first time this season, following a six-game winning month which helped the team get back into title contention.
Real trailed Barcelona by 10 points and closed that gap to just one heading into the final weekend of the campaign. “I wasn’t born to coach but Zizou, yes,” Beckham said.
“Zizou, who won everything, was chosen the best player in the world several times and he experienced first hand many situations. There is no former player who garners more respect and admiration. It was only natural that he would end up coaching the team. At this time, they (Real) must be very happy with Zizou. His job in any case is very difficult because in the last five years, Madrid have had to face the best Barca in history.”
Real have failed to win La Liga since the 2011-12 campaign while Barca celebrated their sixth league title in eight seasons last weekend.
“Barca is a monster, a well thought out and constructed team, with youngsters that are promoted from the youth team and with (Lionel) Messi, who is from another planet,” Beckham said.
“When you compete against a team like that one, everything becomes more complicated. It’s very difficult to compete against a team like Barcelona.”
Beckham refused to wade into the “senseless debate” over who is the better player between Real’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi.
“Both are unique, just like Zizou in his day. They have marked an era. We will remember the Messi and Cristiano years and both at the same time! No one had ever maintained that level throughout for so long.
“Whoever knows them, they always highlight their persistence and hunger to get better. They want to be the best.”
Meanwhile, Real’s attacking trio of Cristiano, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema need to score twice in the Champions League final to hit the century mark for goals this season for the first time.
The previous combined best for the trio, who are known as the BBC (Bale, Benzema and Cristiano) was 97 in the 2014-15 campaign.
For a sixth consecutive year, Ronaldo found the back of the net more than 50 times in all competitions with his two goals against Deportivo La Coruna last weekend increasing his season tally to 51.
Frenchman Benzema finished second to Ronaldo scoring 28 – 24 in La Liga and four of them Champions League strikes – while Bale scored 19, all of them in La Liga. These were personal bests for both players at Real.
In La Liga alone, the three stars scored a combined 78 goals, two more than in 2014-15, to establish their best mark in the three seasons they have played together.
Ronaldo struck 35 of those, 13 fewer than last season when he earned the Pichichi award as the top scorer in Spain’s top division.
Zidane had said since taking over at the club that he will have all three players on the pitch as much as possible. “I will always play with the three of them, that’s definitely the plan,” he said last January.