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The French legend led Los Blancos to a 5-0 win over Deportivo La Coruna in his first match in charge on Saturday and several things stood out in the 43-year-old's Bernabeu bow

The number five has special significance for Zinedine Zidane at Real Madrid. The former France midfielder wore the number 5 shirt with elegance and grace during his five seasons at the Santiago Bernabeu and, in his first game as coach of the senior side on Saturday, he watched his team triumph 5-0.

It was a stunning start for Zidane. Two goals from Karim Benzema and three from Gareth Bale made it a happy night for the 43-year-old and also the club's fans, who raised the noise levels after witnessing some poor performances in recent weeks and months that ultimately led to the dismissal of Rafa Benitez.

Aside from the result, many aspects of the game stood out on Saturday and here is a look at some of the conclusions that can be drawn from the Frenchman's first game in charge...


Gareth Bale's time at Real Madrid has had its ups and downs. Hailed for a successful season as Madrid won La Decima and the Copa del Rey in 2014, the Welshman has been booed this term and some speculated - as they have since his arrival - that this would be his last year in Spain.

Under Rafa Benitez, Bale was deployed in a central playmaking position he claimed was his favourite role and it was said that the 26-year-old was sad when the Spanish coach was sacked on Monday.

But on Saturday night, he appeared anything but. Back out on the right wing, the former Tottenham midfielder hit a brilliant hat-track, worked hard, tracked back to support the midfield and defence and made a goal-saving tackle late in the game before leaving the pitch to a standing ovation.

Bale became the first British player to hit two hat-tricks in a Liga season and also surpassed the 50-goal mark for Real (he now has 51) as he overtook Zidane (on 49) in the process.

These are the type of performances Madrid paid out all that money for two and a half years ago and with Cristiano Ronaldo somewhat off form at the moment, this is Bale's big chance to be the great Galactico than Florentino Perez hoped he would be.


One of the most baffling aspects of the Rafa Benitez reign was his insistence on picking Danilo at right-back instead of Dani Carvajal.

Danilo, of course, is a €30m signing and Benitez was perhaps keen on keeping his president happy. Fielding the error-strewn Brazilian, however, didn't help him keep his job as the former Porto player cost the team several goals by being caught out of position time and time again, while he failed to offer much going forward either.

Spanish sports paper AS asked readers to pick their preferred XI this week ahead of Zidane's debut and they voted for Carvajal to start over Danilo. And when that side was finally announced on Saturday, the Spain defender was in it.

Carvajal has spent time out through injury this season, but was largely ignored by Benitez even when he was available. Back in the side against Depor, he showed his worth at both ends with some good defending and also a wonderful cross to set up the second goal of the night for Gareth Bale.

"When Zidane told me I was to receive this opportunity, I had trouble sleeping the siesta," Carvajal said afterwards. But there is no need to lose any more sleep because on current form he is an upgrade on Danilo at both ends - and there will be plenty more opportunities to come.


In his pre-match press conference on Friday, Zidane called for all of his outfield players to help out with defensive duties and it was a much more committed Madrid team against Deportivo on Saturday.

Bale in particular impressed in that respect, slotting in to support the midfielders when Madrid didn't have the ball. That's what Zidane wants. And he will have been pleased with how his players pressed and worked hard for each other - although he did say after the game he would like to see an improvement when it comes to winning back possession.

"What I liked most was the attitude of the players who played and also those who didn't," he said afterwards. And he added: "We can still improve in terms of winning the ball back, but it's only the first day."

There was little in the way of pressing from Cristiano Ronaldo, but Benzema did do his bit by dropping deep to help regain possession, while the midfield and defence played with greater intensity than they had done most of the time under Benitez.

Madrid maintained their rhythm even at 2-0 up and also later on when the game was won. And while that is perhaps to be expected in a coach's first game, Zidane will be demanding more of the same week after week. If he gets it, anything is possible for this team.


Isco started Benitez's first game in a 0-0 draw at Sporting Gijon but ended Rafa's reign on the bench as he didn't play a single minute in either of the 55-year-old's final two matches as Real Madrid coach.

Frustrated and unhappy, the midfielder has been considering his options over the last few weeks and has been thinking about leaving Real in the winter window, with talks even taking place between his representative and Manchester City.

However, Zidane's arrival changes everything. Isco has been compared to Zizou due to his playing style and there is a huge mutual admiration between the two men. Madrid's new coach has said all week that the former Malaga man is an important player and he showed it by picking Isco in his first starting XI on Saturday.

The 23-year-old responded positively with a polished performance against Deportivo as he carried the ball forward effectively and proved a handy link-up between defence and attack.

"Happy for the victory and to enjoy football again," Isco wrote on Instagram after the game. Content once again and back in the team too, it now looks like Isco's future is at Real Madrid after all. And that's just how Zidane wants it. 


Real Madrid supporters haven't had much to celebrate over the past year. Since claiming the Club World Cup in December 2014, it has been downhill all the way as the team failed to claim a single trophy in the second half of last season and saw fierce rivals Barcelona win the treble in May and June.

Many madridistas were unhappy to see Ancelotti sacked in the summer and few were inspired by the brand of football favoured by Benitez. With a 4-0 loss to Barca in the Clasico to rub salt in the wounds plus poor performances in the big games and elimination from the Copa del Rey for fielding the suspended Denis Cheryshev, this has been a miserable season so far.

But hope, faith and optimism have all been restored since the return of Zidane as first-team coach earlier this week. Despite his lack of experience at the highest level, having only coached Castilla in Spain's Segunda B, Zizou is a symbol of inspiration and the excitement returned at the Bernabeu on Saturday.

The World Cup-winning midfielder was given a huge ovation by the home fans as his name was read out before the game and his mere presence on the bench has brought the feelgood factor back to Madrid. Having suffered for the past year, the fans are ready to believe again.

"Nothing has changed with the players," Zidane said after the win against Depor. "The coach has changed." And that, pretty much, sums it up.