Raul says Zinedine Zidane would benefit from a sporting director at Real Madrid

Real Madrid legend Raul Gonzalez says next season will be a “big challenge” for current Los Blancos coach Zinedine Zidane. Zidane has had an excellent start in the job — guiding the team to a second Champions League trophy in three years and pushing Barcelona all the way in La Liga in his first six months after replacing Rafa Benitez as coach last January.

In an interview with AS, La Liga’s current U.S. Country Manager suggested that his former teammate now faced another tough task in planning the squad for the 2016-17 season, while suggesting that Zidane could do with some help with that part of the role.

AS met up with Raúl in New York and he makes the front cover saying that his club model would have a sports director pic.twitter.com/cV2b9srWtK

– AS English (@English_AS) July 13, 2016

“I see him more settled in the position all the time, managing the atmosphere,” Raul said. “Next year will be a big challenge for him as this time he will be planning jersey wholesale usa the squad.”

Asked directly if Madrid chief Florentino Perez should take a step back from transfer duties and install a sporting director to look after ins and outs at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, Raul said that having a well-defined structure in place was a positive for any club.

“That would be a question for the president,” he said. “I believe it’s important to have a sporting director — someone to facilitate the communication between the club and the squad, and work on its planning. But not just at Madrid, at all teams. I would always have that structure. Madrid don’t have it today, but then they just won the Champions League. It is necessary that the coach has things as he wants. I like to work in a team. And for that you must have a structure that covers everything and that there is fluid communication.”

Zidane’s big Success so far had been in managing the many high-profile players in the dressing room at the Bernabeu, Raul said jerseys cheap wholesale, having followed the model set by former coach Carlo Ancelotti.

“[At Madrid] there is a lot of media pressure and, above all, you have to manage this dressing room with so many big players who all believe they must play,” he said. “It is not easy. And Zidane did great work in this. He had already seen it done with Ancelotti. You must believe in the players, their quality, and send the message that working together it was easy to win the Champions League and difficult for anyone to beat you.”

Raul won the Champions League three times with Real Madrid.

The team’s style of play under Zidane had not always been thrilling, Raul noted, pointing to their 1-0 aggregate passage during the “boring” Champions League semifinal clashes jerseys china wholesale with Manchester City .

“The semifinal between Madrid and City was very boring,” he said. “Madrid played well in spells, City too, but there were moments when you said – ‘They don’t want to lose. They are afraid.'”

Asked about reported Madrid target Paul Pogba , who is a target of Manchester United , Raul said the France international might help give Zidane’s side some balance in midfield.

“[Pogba ] has the physical attributes and can give you defensive balance,” he said. “He is a big player. You would have to weigh up the price and the conditions. But Madrid would like to have him, as would any club. I am sure that Madrid, and the coaches, have looked at where he could play in their current system.”

Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Twitter @dermotmcorrigan.

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