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

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From Guillem Balague
Spanish football writer
In the press launch of a TV series about himself , Sergio Ramos joked with journalists:»I have more seasons now with Amazon than I do with Real Madrid.»
The Spain centre-back includes two years left on his contract in the Bernabeu but his club are not looking to rekindle it.
And while Ramos has been a constant presence at Real for 14 decades, the uncertainty surrounding his prospective only adds to the sense of uncertainty around a club that has won four of the previous six Champions Leagues.
His win percentage is under 50 percent and there has been little to indicate improvement since Zinedine Zidane returned towards the end of last year manager.
Real still seem unsettled and they’re still inconsistent, fearing signs since they enter a two week-period where they’ll confront Paris St-Germain in the Champions League, in addition to leaders Ateltico Madrid and Champions League qualifiers Sevilla at La Liga.
Moments such as these are nothing new at Real Madrid, a perennial soap opera supplying tales of conspiracy, intrigue and fire rather than failing to match one cliff-hanger after the other, both on and off the pitch.
But since the perennial winners of Europe is Zidane struggling to make the effect this time round get their European effort , and so is there a threat the Frenchman may not be there come the Champions League final?
Zidane composed himself out of the Real Madrid storyline when he stopped after finally winning the Champions League at the end of the 2017-18 year — his third title in a row. He believed that he wasn’t going to receive the backing he needed to execute them and there were adjustments.
He might have chosen this period of footballing exile that was self respecting as a opportunity to reflect as both a player and a coach. He likely did not encounter the words of poet Felix Dennis:
Never return. Never return.
Never surrender the future you’ve earned.
Keep to the track.
Never return to the bridges that you burned.
Nor did he shoot similar advice. In the request of president Florentino Perez, who had tried to lure Mauricio Pochettino out of Tottenham and the unemployed former Chelsea manager Antonio Conte he returned in March.
Zidane took the job before the end of last season because they informed him if he did not, Jose Mourinho are the preferred one (much more on that later). He was promised he’d be in deciding who left and who arrived in a significant player. And there would be lots of changes.
There had to be. Zidane’s last Champions League success flattered to deceive at a season if his side ended 17 points behind La Liga winners Barcelona.
But matters haven’t improved. Since coming back, he has won seven of 15 league matches, a win rate of 46.7%. Santiago Solari, the guy he replaced, won 22 out of 32 matches in charge, a win rate of 68.8%. This was considerably higher than Zidane’s although not large enough to make the president’s confidence and also the Argentine was ignored after just four and a half an hour.
A summer signing who found himself sidelined before kicking a ball for the club, Crucial injuries to players such as Eden Hazard and Marco Asensio and their role , have played .
But have the changeable tactics of Zidane.
Seems to have hit the floor running. Luka Jovic — who came from Eintracht Frankfurt, in which he was scoring for fun — hasn’t looked like he has the quality to become an automatic starter. At least not in the opinion of Zidane, who replaced him after 68 minutes with midfielder Luka Modric and then has started him once.
Real additionally signed some kids for big money — Eder Militao, 21, (Number 42.7m Porto) and 18-year-old ahead Rodrygo (Number 40.2m from Santos). The latter was hurt because pre-season, while the former has to attribute.
Zidane hasn’t been considered a Einstein but his trump card in Real Madrid has always been the connection he has enjoyed with his own players. It’s perceived by most as a rosy, peaceful.
But there are.
The 47-year-old has not endeared himself in deciding who should stay and who should go. They will see the sale to a Blanco to the bone, the nephew of the Gento and Atletico of Marcos Llorente, as a Kind of desperation.
They will likewise be unimpressed with all the loaning out to Sevilla of Reguilon, yet another product of their La Fabrica academy who would have slotted into the place maintained by Marcelo, that was 11kg over his optimum weight last season and was struggling on this front ever since. And then there was Dani Ceballos, who could do a job for the club at midfield, to Arsenal’s loan death.
The obsession with bringing in compatriot Paul Pogba of zidane has not been pretty to witness, not least because Manchester United never had any intention of selling him Perez never appeared that keen on really buying the 26-year-old.
The team had agreed conditions with Ajax’s Donny van Beek and Tottenham’s Christian Eriksen, because Pogba was the midfielder he desired however the moves stopped.
The reality is that Zidane as well as the club were hoping to sell Isco, Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez, however, no offers were forthcoming. For all, his usage of those players is little more than a stick he’s using to win against the president with by saying, essentially:»You did not get me the player I wanted so now I’m going to need to use the players you desired »
Bizarrely, Bale’s lack of rapport with the manager has provoked precisely the kind of reaction that Zidane would have hoped for, with the Wales forward putting in some»I will show you» performances which have attracted both goals and one assist in three matches. The downside is that it has left him a red card thanks to two yellows collected in under two minutes — plus also a one-match ban.
And finally, the choice to market goalkeeper Keylor Navas into Paris St-Germain of the club wasn’t something Zidane desired.
The general opinion at the Bernabeu is the relationship between Perez and Zidane isn’t the very best. A branch between them is being created by their differences around Pogba and Navas, by the club’s failure to get rid of players the Frenchman didn’t want, and by the confusion over tactics — with the team lining up for a single game with three in the back, the second in a 4-3-3 setup and the following as a 4-4-2.
Perez is frustrated in the lack of game time for some big-money signings and, for the very first time in a while, the president feels he is not in complete control as he’d like, and the manager isn’t performing.
Zidane cannot be happy either, now finding himself having a group of veterans combined with gamers.
As a consequence, the Madrid media close to Perez have begun to make mischief.
When that happens, Zidane should know extreme things can happen.
Mourinho’s title, who has rejected at least one offer from China, has in relation to the job.
Around the end of 2015, earlier Mourinho joined Manchester United and just as Rafael Benitez struggled to win hearts and minds, Perez talked to him with a view to discussing a return to the club.
Iker Casillas, among the prior thorns in the face of the Portuguese trainer that was prickly, was gone. The goalkeeper was a sacrificial lamb, unceremoniously given out to Porto till then, been committed to two sides — his team and his nation.
Two problems remained: Cristiano Ronaldo and Ramos blamed for his departure.
Get rid of these, he advised Perez, and we could speak.
Ronaldo is currently at Juventus. One down, one to go.
I wouldn’t bet much on Ramos getting a contract extension.
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