It’s been quite a long time since we witnessed a Real Madrid team as bad and underwhelming as the 2018/2019 version, rightly so due to the fact that they lost two priceless jewels in Striker Cristiano Ronaldo and manager Zinedine Zidane, both who were the most influential in the side’s unprecedented three consecutive Champions League triumph.
According to Real Madrid president Florentino Perez, it came as a shock to him and his entire crew when the boss dropped a resignation later on his table. Could it be this man is tired of winning? He probably thought at that moment. If he had God’s power he probably would’ve rejected Zidane’s resignation but Real Madrid are a big club, and one that respects the decisions of the ones who served them so they allowed Zidane have his way hoping for and believing in the possibility of having a good season afterward.. but man that didn’t happen, it would be very awkward if Real Madrid ended up being at the top despite losing Zidane and Cristiano Ronaldo in one window, put aside all the Modric-Ballon d’Or vibe.
Real Madrid had a good preseason which wrongfully signalled good things ahead but then, they woefully lost the European Supercup after being beaten 4-2 by rivals Atletico Madrid. Just a bump in the ride? Maybe. It seemed so as new coach Lopetegui achieved five convincing wins and a draw in their next six games only for Los Blancos to get smacked in the chin 3-0 by Sevilla. This was followed by a draw vs Atletico Madrid and then three consecutive losses against CSKA Moscow, Alaves and Levante, teams the world would expect Real Madrid to thrash. Madrid bounced back in the next fixture but got flogged 5-1 by Barcelona in the first Clasico of the season. That was when Perez said “nah, I’ve had enough” and coach Lopetegui was fired hours later.
Madrid brought in a former player Santiago Solari to replace Julen and Solari looked to be doing good winning a couple of games before losing 3-0 to Eibar. Another four consecutive wins, but then another 3-0 loss to CSKA Moscow at home. Madrid still had faith in their new manager who now brought in some strange tactical decisions. At least he was better than Lopetegui. Things weren’t that bad for Solari and Madrid until they got knocked out of the Copa del Rey and the Champions League as well as their hopes of La Liga killed in the space of just a week and not just that, rivals Barcelona were crucial in ending their season. Madrid lost back-to-back Clasicos at the Bernabeu 3-0 and 1-0 both ending their hopes in Copa del Rey and La Liga respectively. As if this wasn’t enough, Ajax beat them 4-1 in the return leg of their Champions League Round of 16 tie, knocking them out of the competition despite Los Blancos having a 2-1 advantage from the first leg. Yeah that’s it, Real Madrid season is over!
After that nightmare, it became increasingly clear that they need a name who’d bring unity in the dressing room whilst providing a great tactical upgrade, so Madrid went on and brought Zidane 9 months after his departure to replace Solari. The entire Real Madrid community seem delighted at his appointment and you can smell a sense of confidence from the fans. He’s took charge in just won game and won it cleanly as Los Blancos saw off Celta Vigo 2-0 at the Bernabeu. It is noteworthy that Zidane made some really interesting changes in his first XI back as manager, dropping Courtois to the bench for Keylor Navas and bringing back Marcelo and Isco to the lineup. Isco, alongside Bale, scored a goal and Marcelo made an assist. Madrid once again looked like a team who’s main goal is to get the result.
Being out of the Champions League and Copa del Rey, and La Liga almost certainly slipped away, Zidane isn’t on any pressure to win trophies this season meaning he’d be primed to improve the team, get them prepared and bring a very strong Real Madrid side that will compete for all trophies in 2019/2020.