Real Madrid are going through a turbulent patch this season after ending the previous campaign on a high note by winning the La Liga. Several factors point towards Zinedine Zidane for Madrid’s current situation.
Los Blancos were almost handed a group stage elimination in the Champions League, with shocking back-to-back losses against Shakthar Donetsk in the group stage.
In La Liga, Zidane’s tactics have been exposed as Madrid have dropped points against most of the weaker sides. A defensive low block by the opposition is like a nail in the coffin for Los Blancos.
The French manager has barely rotated his squad this season and has stuck to his core team. This tactical decision works for crucial fixtures but not for an entire season.
Players such as Luka Jovic, Eder Militao, Alvaro Odriozola, Martin Odegaard and Vinicius Jr have been left warming the bench. Madrid paid a combined 190 million Euros for these players, but Zidane seems to have no plans on using them or doesn’t trust them enough to make a difference.
In fact, the most shocking decision was loaning out Jovic. The defending La Liga champions are struggling to score goals and Zidane has decided to loan out their next best striker after Karim Benzema.
Benzema is known to be inconsistent at times and lately has not been performing at his best. These are the fixtures when Zidane should use the Serbian but instead, he loaned him out. Of course, this is a good move for Jovic who has had a torrid time in Madrid, but as the manager, Zidane should have tried to get the best out of the player.
Madrid are now out of the Spanish Super Cup after losing to Athletic Bilbao, and are second in the La Liga table, while the leaders have two games in hand. The Copa del Rey is the only silverware that seems achievable for this season.
It seems like the French tactician is living on borrowed time in charge of Madrid, with a last-day qualification for the Champions League knockout stages staving off a December sacking. Now, as long as Madrid are in Europe and in the title race, Zidane will be safe.
History tells us that a mid-season sacking is still possible if either competition becomes unwinnable, but without a proven manager available on the market, it’s difficult to make a switch, especially with Pochettino now at Paris Saint-Germain.
A potential exit at the end of the season could be on the cards regardless of the results. However, if Madrid considers sacking Zidane earlier, then Raul Gonzales, Xabi Alonso and Guti Hernandez could be considered as interim managers till the end of the season.
Whenever the change is made, it will be good for Madrid – Zidane’s second coming at the club has not been as successful as his first run, and he has fallen out with players more often this time around.
A change would be good for Madrid, but it all depends on how they do in the league this season, and on who comes in next.