Not a ‘bad season’?
Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane will be under increasing pressure, should the club fail in claiming back-to-back La Liga titles – the only opportunity left to secure silverware this season.
Madrid were knocked out of the Copa del Rey by lower league side Alcoyano, Chelsea kicked them comfortably out the Champions League semi-finals and, after a draw with Sevilla, they have handed back control of La Liga to Atletico Madrid.
When asked if not winning the league, and ending the season without a trophy constituted the label of a ‘bad season’, Zidane was defiant.
“Everything can happen,” he said. “We can win it just like we can lose it.
“The most important thing is to give everything and how we act on the pitch. We’ve played good games and the season is long.
“I am not going to say that it is a bad season, because that’s when you don’t give everything on the pitch.
“2017 was a phenomenal season and we could have lost in the last game. The most important thing is what you can control, and then whatever happens will happen.”
Is Zidane safe?
It is difficult to say whether Florentino Perez will see it the same way as the French coach.
Real Madrid were desperate to get Zidane back after an unsuccessful period under Julen Lopetegui, and he did indeed come back, but the tactician has since been unable to replicate his stellar work in Europe.
A La Liga title was delivered last season, but the aim for the club is certainly the Champions League.
Los Blancos have endured a tricky time of late, and even face potential expulsion from UEFA competitions if reports are to be believed.
Should this come to pass, due to Perez’s stubbornness over the failed Super League proposal, then Real would be in a weak position to sack Zidane.
Already in considerable debt and required to back millions of illegal state aid, dismissing the Frenchman may be the worst possible move.
Real Madrid are ultimately in need of a rebuild, as highlighted by the gulf in quality to previous iterations of the side. The time of Karim Benzema and Sergio Ramos is coming to a close, with Cristiano Ronaldo, Pepe and Iker Casillas long gone.
Maybe Zidane is not the right coach as a custodian of the old guard, and a fresh mind is what is truly needed? The summer will reveal the first step.
This article was edited by Conor Laird.