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Zinedine Zidane and Rafa Benitez have had identical starts to the season with Madrid!

Anirudh Menon
1.40K   //    03 Oct 2016, 17:23 IST
Benitez greets Zidane – the Spaniard was sacked in favour of the French great last season

It is absolutely uncanny – the starts that former Real Madrid boss Rafa Benitez and his replacement Zinedine Zidane have had these last two seasons are now near identical – 15 points from 7 games played with 4 wins and 3 draws.  

This is how Rafa started his reign during the first few weeks before the October international break in the 2015-16 season -  

  1. Sporting Gijon 1 – 1 Real Madrid
  2. Real Madrid 5- 0 Betis
  3. Espanyol 0 – 6 Real Madrid
  4. Real Madrid 1 – 0 Granada
  5. Athletic Bilbao 1 - 2 Real Madrid
  6. Real Madrid 0 – 0 Malaga
  7. Atletico de Madrid 1 – 1 Real Madrid

The results soon tailed and after suffering a massive blow in terms of losing the confidence of his players, the fans and everybody associated with the club and was sent packing by December. 

That was when the French legend took over. Zizou, as he is fondly known, went on to guide Real Madrid to the Champions League, and took them on a run of 16 consecutive wins (including the first four this La Liga season). 

But his side's momentum has stalled in recent weeks and a run of four consecutive draws – three of them in the league against Villareal, Las Palmas, and Eibar. This is how Zizou's Madrid started the 2016-17 season 

  1. Real Sociedad 0 – 3 Real Madrid
  2. Real Madrid 2 - 1 Celta de Vigo
  3. Real Madrid 5 - 2 Osasuna
  4. Espanyol 0 – 2 Real Madrid
  5. Real Madrid 1 – 1 Villareal
  6. Las Palmas 2 – 2 Real Madrid
  7. Real Madrid 1 -1 Eibar

This unconvincing run of results has seen pressure mount on Zizou.

Benitez, of course, was handicapped with the lack of support within the Bernabeu but that isn't a concern yet for Zidane – whose status as a legend was cemented during his playing days with Los Blancos. This volley alone reserves him a seat in the Real Madrid Hall of Fame

But, he needs results soon – the crowd at the Bernabeu are not known for their patience –  and he has two major issues to deal with, the long-term injuries for Casemiro and Modric have robbed Madrid of vital dynamism in the middle of the park, and how Zidane solves that conundrum will seal his fate at arguably the most high-pressure job in world football 

It'll be crunch time for Zizou when the Spanish league resumes after the international break.

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Anirudh Menon
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