𝐈𝐬 𝐢𝐭 𝐟𝐢𝐧𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐲 𝐭𝐢𝐦𝐞 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐙𝐢𝐧𝐞𝐝𝐢𝐧𝐞 𝐙𝐢𝐝𝐚𝐧𝐞 & 𝐑𝐞𝐚𝐥 𝐌𝐚𝐝𝐫𝐢𝐝 𝐭𝐨 𝐩𝐚𝐫𝐭 𝐰𝐚𝐲𝐬?
After a great run of 8 games unbeaten, Los Blancos are under pressure from critics and fans alike following their recent lackluster displays! Zidane’s men are now without a win in 3 games and 4 points behind league leaders Atletico, who have two games in hand to further extend the gap between themselves and Real. It’s fair to say now that LaLiga is Atleti’s to lose! As if that wasn’t enough already, our arch-rivals Barcelona suddenly seem to have found their mojo and are in their best vein of form this season! The gap between us and the Blaugranes is a mere 3 points, one slip up and we may as well readily give up on defending our league crown from last season!
When Zidane returned to the club back in March of 2019, he knew he risked damaging his enviable record and legacy at the club. In his first stint as manager, he had an absolute world-class squad containing players who were at the peak of their powers. So there was always this feeling that Zidane just had a jewel of a team and that the players won the three-peat with their individual abilities rather than because of his guidance and coaching abilities. However, while those claims are misleading and very unfair, there is no denying the fact that Zidane is not a tactically astute coach like Pep Guardiola or Jose Mourinho (more on this in the second slide).
Anyway, it’s evident that Zidane is a man under pressure right now. While the recent results have surely not helped his cause, there are more (and bigger) reasons leading to calls for his sacking. First of all, he’s very stubborn and rarely gives chances to young players, he’s slow to react when things aren’t going well for the team on the pitch. His favoritism towards certain players and dislike towards others such as Gareth Bale, Dani Ceballos, James Rodriguez, Sergio Reguilon, and Luka Jovic is an open secret. The latter being a signing he personally sanctioned. Vinicius Junior, Eder Militao, Martin Odegaard-who too was recalled from his loan spell on Zidane’s own wishes- are some players who have faced the wrath of his favoritism recently. Many young and promising players have left the club in recent seasons knowing that they will not be able to showcase their abilities and what they can bring to the team as long as Zidane is at the helm.
Secondly, continuing my point in the first slide, he’s not exactly an innovative tactician either. Every football manager has their own strong points, and Zizou’s trump card is his man-management skills. He knows how to keep the dressing room happy. That’s not been the case lately, though, in the locker room he now has two groups of players; one group mainly consists of veterans who know that they are undisputed starters under him, therefore they want him to stay no matter what. However, the second group comprises of youngsters such as Vinicius Jr. and fringe players such as Isco who would like to see him get the sack.
All in all, his favoritism and stubbornness have costed the team several times this season. So have his incompetent tactics and late substitutions.
No matter what shortcomings Zidane has as a coach or what mistakes he has made you can’t just simply forget what he has done for the club. This is probably the least balanced squad we have had in years. After he left in 2018, neither Julen Lopetegui nor Santiago Solari could motivate this squad and this team looked finished. However, Los Blancos were crowned 'Champions of Spain' next season and also won the Supercopa. Granted his accomplishments and status as a legend, the club and the Madridistas ought to have more patience with him. Firing him would also damage the club’s transfer strategies as his mere presence makes Madrid more attractive as a potential destination for superstars.
Mauricio Pochettino has long attracted interest from Real Madrid. He even waited for many months before finally accepting a job in the hope of securing the most coveted job in football. With him out of the running now, we have three realistic options if Zidane were to get the sack. First up is Raul, a Los Blancos icon and currently managing the club’s B team, he’s done a great job since becoming 'Head Coach of Castilla' and would surely promote promising academy players if he were to become manager of the first team.
Massimiliano Allegri, who has been out of work since May of 2019 is another candidate too. He certainly has the pedigree to manage the best club in the world. Top of that, he’s a serial winner, his trophy cabinet is very impressive. His Milan and Juventus teams conquered Italy, even taking the latter to two UCL finals in 3 years. However, his style of play is pragmatic and not the fast-flowing type the Madrid faithful are crying out for.
Lastly, we have the recently sacked Thomas Tuchel. While he’s less accomplished than Allegri, he took PSG to their first-ever UCL final last season. However, the style of play he implements in his sides perfectly fits Real’s ideology of fast and free-flowing attacking football. His man-management skills are questionable though and appointing him will mean that a Kylian Mbappe transfer would be very unlikely as the pair share a cold relationship.
Nevertheless, these criticisms should perhaps serve as a waking call for Zidane and it still seems unlikely that he and Real Madrid end their association on a low note. I and other Madridistas would like him to continue and expand his legacy at the ‘White House of Football’.