Zinedine Zidane’s career as a head coach got off to a winning start Saturday as Real Madrid routed visiting Deportivo La Coruña, 5-0, in the Spanish league.
Gareth Bale had three goals, and Karim Benzema had two — one with a back-heel flick.
Zidane, a former Real Madrid star midfielder, received a warm welcome at Santiago Bernabéu Stadium in Madrid, with fans loudly cheering him before and after the game. It was a completely different atmosphere compared with when Rafa Benítez was in charge; he was jeered in nearly every game since a demoralizing 4-0 home loss to Barcelona in November, a result that ignited a crisis at Real Madrid, a Spanish powerhouse.
“The fans were behind the team from the first minute until the end,” Zidane said. “It was a great atmosphere. But we have to understand that this was only the first game; we…