Luis Figo believes some of the criticism levelled at Zinedine Zidane this season has been unfair, suggesting Real Madrid’s detractors have forgotten his previous achievements too quickly.
Zidane enjoyed a brilliant start to his coaching career at the Santiago Bernabeu, leading Madrid to Champions League success within five months of replacing the sacked Rafael Benitez in January 2016.
He then guided Madrid to a Champions League and LaLiga double in his first full season in charge, helping the club become the first to win Europe’s elite competition in its current guise for two straight years.
This term things have been somewhat more troublesome, with Madrid’s transfer activity coming under criticism and they head in to Tuesday’s away league clash with Espanyol 14 points adrift of leaders Barcelona.
And, although Figo acknowledges pressure is something every Real Madrid coach needs to accept, he is adamant his former team-mate is the right man for the club.
Speaking to Omnisport, Figo said: “The coach of Real Madrid is always under pressure and you know that you depend always on results.
“But sport is like that. For me, you can win every year. But since he picked the team, I think he did fantastic, great.
“But the problem normally in football is it depends on what you do in the last games.
“People forget very fast what you achieved in the recent past. But I think the people are happy, the players are happy with him and that is the most important.”
Part of the reason Madrid are so far behind Barca this season is the form of Lionel Messi, who has been sensational, scoring 22 and setting up another 12 in 25 LaLiga appearances.
And his impressive performances have not escaped Figo, who lauded him as “one of the greatest of all time”.
“It’s amazing what he is achieving and I think every time he doesn’t surprise us because he makes amazing things every game,” Figo added.
“So this is very beautiful what he does in terms of football and his career. He’s one of the greatest footballers of all-time.”