5 potential after-effects of a bad Real Madrid season
Is it too early to call the current goings on at Real Madrid a crisis? Perhaps. After all, every team has to lose at some point, even the mighty Real. But last season saw them go unbeaten in La Liga until January, and during that period they only had four draws, too, one of which came against Barcelona.
This time, they’ve already drawn twice and lost twice too – once to lowly Girona – and it’s only October. Moreover, they have yet to even play either Barcelona or their other large rivals, Atletico Madrid.
In the Champions League, meanwhile, while last season they only lost one game – the second leg of the semi-finals against Atletico after the tie was effectively killed by a 3-0 Real victory in the first leg – this time they’ve failed to beat Tottenham on two occasions, losing 3-1 last night in what was an embarrassing performance for Europe’s self-styled biggest club.
There’s no reason why Real can’t get themselves out of this funk if their biggest players hit top form – and they still have others like Gareth Bale and Raphael Varane waiting to return from injuries too – but assuming they have a bad season, what could the ramifications turn out to be? Here are five possibilities.
#1 Zinedine Zidane could lose his job
It was always a risk from Real’s brass to hand the keys to the Bernabeu to Zinedine Zidane. The Frenchman is obviously a club legend, and ranks as one of the best players to ever kick a ball. But as a manager he was completely unproven at the top level when he took over from Rafael Benitez in January 2016.
The risk seemed to pay off, though, when Zidane led his side to the Champions League title that May, and then went on to secure a Champions League and La Liga double in 2016/17 – his first full season in charge.
If Real end up failing this season, though, will the Madrid bosses really show much patience with Zizou? If you go by the club’s history it’s highly unlikely. Few clubs show such little patience with their managers as Los Blancos, and much bigger names in management than Zidane – the likes of Benitez, Jose Mourinho, and Carlo Ancelotti have all been dispensed of in ruthless fashion when they failed to live up to expectations.
Those expectations? Well, they tend to be that the club win every possible trophy, in entertaining fashion too.
If they were to fire Zidane – and failure to win either La Liga, the Champions League, or both would pretty much guarantee that – who could they bring in as his replacement? Well, Real’s bosses may have glimpsed the future during last night’s loss to Tottenham.
Mauricio Pochettino has done a tremendous job at Spurs and has already been linked with Barcelona. If he were willing to leave Tottenham – a big question mark given his great relationship with all there – he’d surely be the top candidate to replace Zidane.