Is Zinedine Zidane struggling as a manager at Real Madrid?

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Zinedine Zidane used to don the Real Madrid CF jersey between 2001 and 2006. Undoubtedly, Zizou established himself as one of the greatest playmakers of all time. His excellence showed even when he took on the responsibility as Madrid manager in January 2016. In his two-and-a-half-year run, Zidane added many feathers to his coaching crown. However, since he came back earlier this year for his second stint as coach, things have not been going according to plan.

His win percentage is significantly low, with figures not even reaching 50%. This particular statistic is raising eyebrows in the Spanish and European football fraternity. Madrid’s inconsistency this season is a worrying sign for Zizou’s bosses. If the club wants to bring back their UEFA Champions League crown, a special tactical mastery needs to be injected into the way the team is approaching the sport right now. With a loss in their opening UCL encounter against Paris Saint-Germain, things are about to get tougher for the team and their French manager.

Although everything is in turmoil at the moment, Real’s performance was too impressive during Zidane’s first inning as the team’s manager. Under his effective leadership, Los Blancos became the first club in history to win three consecutive Champions League titles. He also won La Liga, FIFA Club World Cup, and other trophies. After that, Zizou shockingly left Madrid’s coaching responsibilities. By then, he was fully satisfied with his glorious career, both as a footballer and a manager. However, shortly after he left, Madrid lost its way.


Eden Hazard (R) holds off PSG’s Pablo Sarabia – the Belgian made his first start for Real Madrid in Wednesday’s game

With their marquee player Cristiano Ronaldo also leaving Spain for his new Italian venture with Juventus FC, Real seemed to fall off the cliff. After a disastrous start of the 2018/19 season with Julen Lopetegui at the helm, Real Madrid Castilla coach Santiago Solari had to take over to try to salvage the campaign. Once the club was out of contention for any trophy near the end of the season, Club President Florentino Perez requested Zidane to resume his duties as the club manager.

Since then, BBC reports that Zidane’s relationship with club players are deteriorating. After Zizou resumed his Madrid duties, he traded many of the club’s faithful players to bring in newer faces. This has not gone over too well with the team members. As a result, what once was Zizou’s secret to success in the form of man-management skills is now fading away.

The sale of Marcos Llorente to Atletico Madrid seemed like a betrayal, given that fact that Llorente has been a full-fledged Blanco who also happens to be the nephew of the great Francisco Gento. Another unexpected move was the loaning of Sergio Reguilon to Sevilla FC. Football pundits like Guillem Balague think that Reguilon could have been the perfect replacement for Marcelo Vieira, who is overweight by 11 kilograms. Balague also thinks that the Brazilian’s extra weight is restricting him from performing his duties to the best possible extent. The loan departure of Dani Ceballos to Arsenal also wasn’t justified, since he was doing a good job in the Real Madrid midfield.

Reports also suggest that the current relationship between Perez and the club manager isn’t at its best. When Perez and other club bosses wanted to bring Tottenham Hotspur’s Eriksen and AFC Ajax’s Donny van de Beek to Bernabeu, Zidane stood in the way. The Frenchman always wanted Manchester United’s Paul Pogba, a deal which neither the United bosses nor Perez was particularly interested in.

Besides that, the club never got rid of the footballers that Zizou wanted to. Also, his lack of a consistent line-up is raising concerns in the Bernabeu camp. In one match, he is playing 4-3-3, while the next game he is setting up a 4-4-2 line-up. Perez is also reportedly frustrated because the former French footballer isn’t allowing their big-money signings to have more game time. Balague feels that Perez is not happy for not being in control since Zidane isn’t completely following his instructions.

It seems that if the Frenchman fails to bring back the lost glory to Santiago Bernabeu, he might not stay long enough at the club to see his boys lifting the next Champions League crown.