Sunday 20 October 2019 ,
Sunday 20 October 2019 ,
Latest News
  • Learn to tolerate dissenting opinions: Speaker
  • 5 held for stabbing RU student
  • Cleanliness drive will not spare any wrongdoer: Quader
  • Child killed, 3 injured in Chattogram fire
  • It’s an accidental incident; BSF showed “hegemony”: FM
  • 184 new dengue patients hospitalised in 24 hrs
21 September, 2019 11:32:27 AM
Print

Is Zidane the answer for over a year

Independent Online/ Goal.com
Is Zidane the answer for over a year
The Blancos failed to register a single shot on target in Wednesday's humiliating 3-0 loss at PSG, piling more pressure on their coach

Predrag Mijatovic couldn't believe what he had just witnessed at the Parc des Princes.

"I didn't expect a game like that," the Real Madrid icon admitted to El Larguero after his former club's 3-0 loss to Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday night. "Especially against a team who were without many of their star men."

Indeed, there had been no Neymar, Kylian Mbappe or Edinson Cavani in the home side. No matter. Real Madrid had "no soul", as AS so scathingly put it.

There was no discernible game plan either, no obvious difference between this season's Real Madrid and last season's – the one humiliated on home soil by Ajax in the last 16 of the Champions League.

It was an historically dismal display, with Madrid failing to register a single shot on target in a competitive fixture for the first time in 10 years.

And it begs the question: Are Madrid any better now than they were before Zidane's return to the Santiago Bernabeu in March?

The Frenchman had, of course, ridden off into the sunset after leading the club to a third consecutive Champions League triumph in May 2018.

As exits go, it was as well-timed as a Zidane substitution. "Nobody's ever done it better," acknowledged Alvaro Arbeloa.

However, Zidane's successor, Julen Lopetegui, was sacked before the end of October, after a humiliating 5-1 Liga loss to Barcelona at Camp Nou.

Santiago Solari was promptly promoted from Real Madrid Castilla to take care of the senior squad on a temporary basis but then given the job full-time after inspiring an upturn in the team's fortunes.

The new manager bump didn't last long, though, and after two home defeats to Barcelona in the space of four days – in the Copa del Rey and La Liga – effectively ended the Blancos' season, the Argentine was dismissed on March 10 – somewhat bizarrely, the day after a 4-1 win at Valladolid.

It had been obvious after Solari's second Clasico loss that Madrid were in trouble. Zidane returned to rescue them.

At least, that was the plan. But nothing at Madrid has gone according to plan over the past six months – least of all their summer recruitment strategy.

Zidane came back because he was promised a greater say in transfers and, during the summer, Florentino Perez finally signed Eden Hazard – a decade after the World Cup winner had first recommended the Belgian winger to the club president.

In total, Madrid spent more than €300m (£273m/$330m) on new players during the off-season. Eder Militao and Ferland Mendy were signed to bolster the defence, while Rodrygo and Luka Jovic joined Hazard in a revamped forward line.

The midfield wasn't strengthened, though; it was, in reality, weakened, by the departures of Dani Ceballos and Marcos Llorente. Incredibly, neither player was replaced.

Zidane wanted Paul Pogba, of course, but Madrid didn't have the money, primarily because of their inability to offload James Rodriguez – and Perez's panicked decision to block Gareth Bale's move to China following a season-ending injury to Marco Asensio.

That left Zidane having to not only work with two players he had tried to discard but "count on them". Bale's agent had even branded the coach "a disgrace" for the way in which he very publicly tried to force his client out of the club.

But the Welshman – despite feeling that he had been "made more of a scapegoat than most" – has been the epitome of professionalism, proving one of Real's best performers so far this season. The same could also be said of James, as Zidane himself has acknowledged.

Zidane came back because he was promised a greater say in transfers and, during the summer, Florentino Perez finally signed Eden Hazard – a decade after the World Cup winner had first recommended the Belgian winger to the club president.

In total, Madrid spent more than €300m (£273m/$330m) on new players during the off-season. Eder Militao and Ferland Mendy were signed to bolster the defence, while Rodrygo and Luka Jovic joined Hazard in a revamped forward line.

The midfield wasn't strengthened, though; it was, in reality, weakened, by the departures of Dani Ceballos and Marcos Llorente. Incredibly, neither player was replaced.

Zidane wanted Paul Pogba, of course, but Madrid didn't have the money, primarily because of their inability to offload James Rodriguez – and Perez's panicked decision to block Gareth Bale's move to China following a season-ending injury to Marco Asensio.

That left Zidane having to not only work with two players he had tried to discard but "count on them". Bale's agent had even branded the coach "a disgrace" for the way in which he very publicly tried to force his client out of the club.

But the Welshman – despite feeling that he had been "made more of a scapegoat than most" – has been the epitome of professionalism, proving one of Real's best performers so far this season. The same could also be said of James, as Zidane himself has acknowledged.

"I want to win," he explained on the day of his departure, "and, if I don’t see clearly that we’re going to keep on winning, then it is best to change and not do anything stupid."

Returning may not have been the smartest decision, though.

Zidane can no longer rely on the ridiculously prolific Cristiano Ronaldo to repeatedly bail Madrid out of trouble, or an increasingly injury-prone Modric to pull the strings in midfield, or an ageing Ramos to hold the defence together.

This time around, he has not been charged with steadying the ship but building a new one. It's a far tougher job, not a test of man-management but of tactical acumen and organisational skills.

In that sense, it looks more like a task for a meticulous disciplinarian like Jose Mourinho – who, tellingly, has gone public with his enduring love of Madrid in the past few weeks while trying to play down rumours of a return to the club – than the far more hands-off Zidane.

As Mijatovic said after the horror-show in Paris, "I don't see Zidane capable of finding the solutions Madrid need for the team to improve. It's a concern because on Sunday they have to travel to Sevilla."

Where they will renew acquaintances with Lopetegui, who has the Rojiblancos riding high at the top of the table.

The former Spain boss remains bitter about what he feels was the premature nature of his sacking and he would be well within his rights to point out that Madrid are no better off than they were when they sacked him just under a year ago.

What’s more, while Real often performed poorly during Lopetegui’s brief tenure, they were never as bad as they were under Zidane in Paris on Wednesday night.

And that's a fact.

HM

Comments

Video

Copyright © All right reserved.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Disclaimer & Privacy Policy
....................................................
About Us
....................................................
Contact Us
....................................................
Advertisement
....................................................
Subscription

Powered by : Frog Hosting