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Real Madrid: Is Zinedine Zidane struggling second time around? – Guillem Balague column

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From Guillem Balague
Spanish soccer writer
At the press launch of a TV show about himself , Sergio Ramos joked with supporters:”I have more seasons now with Amazon compared to the with Real Madrid.”
The Spain centre-back has two years left on his contract at the Bernabeu but his team are not seeking to animate it.
And while Ramos was a continuous presence at Actual for 14 years, the uncertainty surrounding his future adds to the rising sense of uncertainty around a club that has won four of the six Champions Leagues.
His win percentage is under 50 percent and there has been little to suggest improvement since the beginning of this year since Zinedine Zidane returned near the end of last season manager.
Real still seem unsettled and they are still inconsistent, worrying signs since they enter two week-period in which they will confront Paris St-Germain in the Champions League, in addition to leaders Ateltico Madrid and Champions League qualifiers Sevilla in La Liga.
Moments such as these are nothing new at Real Madrid, a perennial soap opera providing tales of conspiracy, intrigue and fire and never failing to match one cliff-hanger after another, both on and off the pitch.
But since the perennial winners of Europe is Zidane struggling to create the effect this time around, receive their newest European campaign , and is there a threat the Frenchman might not even be that come another Champions League final?
Zidane wrote himself from the Real Madrid storyline when he quit after winning the Champions League in the end of this 2017-18 season – his third title in a row. He felt that he wasn’t going to obtain the backing he had to implement them and there were large adjustments to make in the club.
He may have chosen this time of footballing exile that was self-imposed as a opportunity to reflect a fine career as a coach and a player. He probably did not come across the words of poet Felix Dennis:
Never go back. Never return.
Never concede.
Keep to the track, to the track.
Never return to the bridges you’ve burned.
Nor did he accept similar guidance from people near him. In March , he returned at the request of president Florentino Perez, who had previously tried to entice the unemployed Chelsea manager Antonio Conte and Mauricio Pochettino from Tottenham.
Zidane took the job prior to the conclusion of last year because they informed him that, if he didn’t, Jose Mourinho are the chosen one (much more on this later). He was assured he’d be in deciding that abandoned and who arrived in, a player. And there would be lots of changes.
There had to be. Zidane’s final Champions League success flattered to deceive at a year if his side finished 17 points supporting La Liga winners Barcelona.
But matters haven’t improved. Since coming back, he’s won seven of 15 league matches, a win rate of 46.7 percent. Santiago Solari, the guy he replaced, won 22 out of 32 matches in charge, a win rate of 68.8 percent. This was higher than Zidane’s but not large enough to make the president’s confidence along with the Argentine was dismissed after just four.
A summer signing who found himself sidelined prior to kicking a ball for the club, Essential injuries to critical players such as Marco Asensio along with Eden Hazard and their part have played in the lacklustre beginning.
But have the varying tactics of Zidane.
Just left-back Ferland Mendy, who combined from Lyon, seems to have hit the floor running. Luka Jovic – that came from Eintracht Frankfurt – has not looked like he’s got the quality to become a automatic starter. At least not at the view of Zidane, who replaced him after 68 minutes with midfielder Luka Modric and then has started him.
Real additionally signed some youngsters for large money – Eder Militao, 21, (#42.7m from Porto) and 18-year-old forwards Rodrygo (#40.2m from Santos). While the former has yet to feature, the latter has been injured because pre-season.
His trump card at Real Madrid has been, although zidane hasn’t been known as a Einstein as a trainer. It is perceived by many as a rosy, calm, harmonious co-existence.
However there are indications that these relationships are crumbling.
In deciding who should stay and that should go, the 47-year-old has not endeared himself to many of the Madrid loyal. They’ll see the selling to the nephew of the Gento Atletico of Marcos Llorente and a Blanco to the bone.
They will likewise be unimpressed with the loaning out to Sevilla of Reguilon, yet another item of their La Fabrica academy who could have slotted to the position maintained by Marcelo, who had been 11kg over his best weight last season and has been struggling on that front since. And then there was the loan death of Dani Ceballos, who could certainly do a job for the club midfield, to Arsenal.
The obsession with bringing in compatriot Paul Pogba of zidane hasn’t been fairly not least since Manchester United never had any intention of selling him and Perez never looked that keen on actually buying the 26-year-old.
The team had agreed conditions with Ajax’s Donny van de Beek and Tottenham’s Christian Eriksen, however the moves stopped because Pogba had been the midfielder he wanted.
The truth is that the club as well as Zidane were expecting to sell Gareth Bale Isco and James Rodriguez, however, no offers were coming. For many, his usage of these players is hardly more than a stick he is using to beat the president by saying, basically:”You didn’t get me the player I needed now I will have to use the players you wanted.”
Bizarrely, Bale’s lack of connection with the manager has triggered precisely the kind of response that Zidane would have hoped for, with the Wales forward putting in some”I will show you” performances which have attracted him two goals and one assist in three games. The downside is that it has earned him a red card thanks to two yellows accumulated in under two minutes – plus a ban.
And lastly, the choice to market goalkeeper Keylor Navas into Paris St-Germain of the club was never something Zidane desired.
The general view in the Bernabeu is the connection between Perez and Zidane isn’t the very ideal. A division between them is being made by their own differences on Pogba and Navas, by the club’s failure to get rid of players that the Frenchman didn’t desire, and from the confusion over approaches – with the group lining up for a single game with three in the rear, the second in a 4-3-3 set up and another as a 4-4-2.
Perez is frustrated in the lack of game time for a few big-money signings and, for the very first time in a little while, the president feels he’s not in control as he would like and the manager isn’t doing.
Zidane cannot be happy now finding himself combined with players.
Close to Perez, the Madrid media as a consequence are beginning to make mischief with criticisms of this trainer.
Zidane should understand drastic things can happen, when that happens.
The title of Mourinho, who has refused at least one offer from China, has in connection to the job that was Real.
At the end of 2015, before Mourinho joined Manchester United and only as Rafael Benitez struggled to win hearts and minds in the Bernabeu, Perez talked to him with a view to discussing a return.
Iker Casillas, among the preceding thorns in the side of the Portuguese mentor, was already gone. The goalkeeper was a lamb, unceremoniously given out to Porto until then, been dedicated to 2 sides – his club and his country.
Two issues remained: Ramos and Cristiano Ronaldo, the two players Mourinho blamed for his departure.
Get rid of these, he advised Perez, and we can speak.
Ronaldo is at Juventus. One down, one to go.
I wouldn’t wager much on Ramos receiving a contract extension anytime soon.
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