I wrote a Champions League prediction in February and touted Juve at 12:1 odds as insane value (with Madrid as the only other team worth betting on). I usually say hedging is for cowards, but this time I had to be a coward and throw down some on Madrid because Zinedine Zidane scared the fucking shit out of me.
With the amount of money and resources Madrid gets to throw around, they should be winning this tournament every single year. More often than not, however, they ended up failing. It seemed every legendary coach that came through (Pellegrini, Mourinho, Ancelotti,
Rafa Benitez) left after a short, underwhelming stint without ever getting through to the players. That all changed last January when Zidane came on board, and now the rest of the soccer universe is fucked.
For the first time, these Madrid players are getting managed by someone who is just as rich and more famous than they are. He has credibility that no other current manager will ever have. He’s currently 2 for 2 in Champions League conquests, and I don’t see this streak stopping any time soon. When a team this expensive and this stacked is able to actually start clicking, everyone else is fucked.
Ronaldo’s transformation is also huge here. Up until last year, Ronaldo was always the clear #2 behind Messi. Now, the debate is much more open. A big reason for that is Ronaldo’s sudden emergence as a great leader and the way he rallied Portugal to a shocking Euro Cup title. He was always perceived as a petulant little shit whose arrogance and selfish play got in the way of team results, but that’s all gone out the window by now. No way this happens without Zizou’s mentorship.
We’re legit on the verge of seeing a Phil Jackson type run here. I can’t think of anyone better suited to manage a team of superstars in soccer, and I can’t think of any reason that Madrid won’t go on the runs that the Bulls and Lakers did. It was fun betting on other teams while it lasted, but from now on investing your life savings into Madrid futures is the way to go. They’re never losing again.