Zinedine Zidane is no longer untouchable. Six months after his return as a providential hero on the bench of Real Madrid, the French coach knows his first turbulence at the head of the Madrid team. A mercato to the taste of unfinished, irregular results and management of the group that questions. His room for maneuver seems already limited before facing the PSG, Wednesday, September 18 at Parc des Princes, during the first day of the Champions League.
Real Madrid however points to an honorable 3rd place after four days of championship, two points behind leader Sevilla and one point ahead of his eternal rival, Barça. But the Madrilenians are not sovereign in the game and deficiencies observed during the preparation meetings (defeat against Atletico Madrid 7-3 in particular) and two draws against more than affordable teams, have parasitized the beginning of season of the Merengue and started, in part, the aura of the French.
The end of last season had already revealed some warning signs. Called a disaster in March, after the elimination against Ajax Amsterdam in the Champions League, Zinedine Zidane failed to relaunch a machine once relentless and today stopped.
"What happened to the French Revolution? "
From a strictly accounting point of view, the balance sheet posted since its return is far from its usual standards: Real Madrid has recorded only seven wins in 15 matches (46%) for four draws and four defeats, an average of 1.66 points. Compared to the 68 wins won in 96 games during his first stint (71%), for an average of 2.32 points per game, not to mention the three league champions won successively between 2015 and 2018.
The Madrid press, formerly unanimous about him, now reserves the same treatment as any Real coach: limited benevolence. "He lost immunity. He stopped being untouchable for the fans », titled the sports daily Marca, criticizing the tactical choices of Zidane, who has changed three times since the beginning of the season, and his excessive loyalty to the old grunts of the squad (Ramos, Kroos, Benzema, Bale, Varane, already present in the workforce) in 2013). "What happened to the French Revolution? " asked the Madrid sports daily, in reference to Zidane's comments on his return, assuring that he was going to " to change things. "
Real Madrid has yet spent 300 million euros to recruit seven players this summer. Not enough, apparently, to complete a mercato worthy of a contender for the final victory in the Champions League. Real will present for example on the lawn of the Parc des Princes with only three midfield profession (Kroos, Casemiro and James Rodriguez). In his defense, the French coach was not spared the many injuries of his players, Modric, Isco or Asensio to name the absentees against PSG.
But the 60 million euros spent to acquire the Montenegrin striker Jovic, who has so far played only 99 minutes since the start of the season, or the obstinacy of the French to want to recruit only Paul Pogba, creates some dissension internally. The case management Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez, declared undesirable by the French coach but reinstated in the group because they have not found a way out, questions.
Mourinho lurking in the shadows?
As a result, relations between the French coach and his president Florentino Perez would have cooled. In an interview with El Confidencial, the former number one Merengue, Ramon Calderon advance as well as "The relationship between Perez and Zidane is very tense. Perez did not bring in the workforce what Zidane was asking for or selling what he asked for. This tension is transferred to the players and results in injuries and defeats. "
"This season can be very complicated. Almost nothing has changed compared to last season. Zidane is a little disappointed and helpless because the management did not bring her what she had promised. Florentino scorns the world of football … He does not care about the coach, because he thinks that no one is qualified to perform these functions, with the exception of Mourinho, who will return in two months if everything goes well. He is the only one he respects. "
Hard to know what credit to make to these statements. Still, the Portuguese José Mourinho continues to make foot calls to his former club. "Real Madrid was my best experience because of what I learned as a coach"he told the channel the Portuguese TV channel "11", referring to his three-year stint in the Spanish capital (2010-2013). "As a coach, but also as a man and also in relation to the lessons I learned for the rest of my career and my life. It was the best memory of my career, it was fantastic. "
Nothing to disturb more than that the French, used to the jolts of professional football. "If I had thought about my personal situation before coming back, saying "I take a risk by coming back"I would not be back. I do not think about my image »he had launched last month. After a restless summer, Zinedine Zidane is counting on the Champions League to finally launch her season.