It’s not too long ago that there were thoughts that Zinedine Zidane’s return to Real Madrid was doomed to fail, yet three months later, Los Blancos have moved from crisis point to lifting a trophy.
Zidane has discovered a system that works with his current players and the results are showing.
The Frenchman never stopped believing in the way he was working, even as there were disastrous nights in Paris and Madrid against PSG and Club Brugge respectively.
There were even suggestions that had it not been for Toni Kroos’ winning goal in Istanbul then Zidane wouldn’t have even been in charge by the time the Super Copa de Espana arrived in Jeddah.
A penalty shootout triumph in Sunday’s final handed Florentino Perez his 26th title as Los Blancos president, and it’s worth noting that Zidane has delivered 10 of those as a coach.
Defeating both Atletico Madrid and Valencia in Saudi Arabia will give Real Madrid confidence as they arrive back in Spain.
They face a challenging LaLiga Santander schedule, as well as a behemoth Champions League tie with Manchester City and Pep Guardiola, but the club is in a calm moment.
They’ve not lost since October 19, when they fell in Mallorca, and it’s now 16 games in a row undefeated.
There is a clear style of play, there is an improved defence and there is no feeling of perennial crisis that had lingered around the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu since Zidane’s initial departure.
That feeling has been replaced by confidence and improvement, and Sunday’s Super Copa de Espana triumph was the very first sweet fruit of labour for Zidane and his players.