The appointment of former legend, Zinedine Zidane as Real Madrid manager for a second time at the tail end of last season was greeted with resounding applause from fans and management of the club.
Zidane guided the Los Blancos to win the UEFA Champions League, La Liga, Supercopa de España, UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup in his tenure as manager, achievements which can’t be scratched from history.
However, the French midfield maestro decided to throw in the towel after a successful stint with the club, citing the need for change as his rationale for departing.
With lots of expectations from Zidane, his second return has not been impressive as the team suffered some unforgivable defeats against teams that on ‘paper’ are beatable in the Spanish League.
A raft of new summer signings including Luka Jovic, Eden Hazard, Militao and promising teenagers Takefusa Kubo and Rodrygo Goes heralded a new dawn for the club as they embarked on their pre-season tour of the US with three International Cup 2019 games.
Besides, the team’s performances in pre-season so far, and especially the 7-3 defeat at the hands of Atletico Madrid, has been underwhelming, to say the least.
Real Madrid’s 3-7 loss to Atlético Madrid at MetLife stadium brought back memories of the infamous 9-1 defeat at the hands of Bayern Munich during the summer of 1980. And the similarities between that pre-season and the current one remain.
In their last encounter against Fenerbahce, Madrid showed some glimpses of recovery, despite conceding three goals in a 5-3 victory against the Turks.
Los Blancos have conceded as many as 16 goals in five games this summer, but Zinedine Zidane is confident that the return of Casemiro to the starting line-up and the addition of Eder Militao will stabilize the defence.
Defeat on penalties by Roma on Sunday after a 2-2 draw saw Real finish their preparations for the new campaign having shipped 18 goals in seven friendlies, recording only two wins.
And as Zidane’s attention falls solely on Sunday’s league opener against Celta Vigo, Jovic’s involvement in the matchday squad could be a signal to where his future lies.
Interestingly, his continuos war-of-words with Gareth Bale has further heightened Zidane’s inability to control the dressing room.
The Frenchman has tried desperately to get rid of Gareth Bale, but the club pulled the plug on his move to China at the 11th hour after Marco Asensio tore his cruciate ligament in a friendly with Arsenal.
Consequently, he’s also losing confidence on new recruit Luka Jovic, who was described as a sublime player when he was signed from Frankfurt.
Spanish publication Marca cites two reports in Jovic’s homeland of Serbia stating that Real boss Zinedine Zidane has been left unimpressed by the striker and is already prepared for him to leave on loan. Jovic was the first signing of Zidane’s meticulously planned summer overhaul, penning a six-year contract at the Santiago Bernabeu after scoring relentlessly for Europa League semi-finalists Eintracht Frankfurt last season.
The former Real Madrid star could well be on the waiting list of managers that may be sacked if he fails to produce positive results when the La Liga season commences this weekend.
Patience is always in short supply with a fan-base as demanding as that of Real Madrid and without a ball having being kicked in the 2019-20 LaLiga campaign, many are now doubting the Frenchman’s ability to ensure that this powerful machine, greased with international talent can gel as a collective and deliver in both results and performances.