Zinedine Zidane is on thin ice, and if next week Real Madrid get knocked out of the Champions League, one would expect that the club part ways with him. And I’m sure even the French coach himself would understand the decision, because we would be responsible for one of the biggest failures in the history of Los Blancos. The Europa League is not the competition for Madrid. Nor is it ruled out that there would be a change of coaches if Madrid fall to Atletico in LaLiga even if they get into the round of 16. He is on a tightrope, but how much is Zidane to blame?
Is it Zidane’s fault that Cristiano Ronaldo’s replacements have been Mariano Diaz and Luka Jovic? Madrid has had a serious problem in the goals department since Ronaldo left, a problem that Julen Lopetegui and Santiago Solari suffered before him and that has been getting worse because Madrid, due to circumstances, have not been able to sign a world-class goalscorer.
Is it Zidane’s fault that his players can’t score from easy chances? The first half against Shakhtar is the best example. Los Blancos had four clear chances and none ended in a goal. Madrid created the chances, but failed with all. And so it is impossible to win.
Is it Zidane’s fault that no signings have come in this season? Madrid’s need for an overhaul was obvious to everyone, but the pandemic prevented it. The economic situation forced him to continue with the same squad and Zidane accepted it willingly, a lacking squad that Zizou made league champions just three months ago.
Is it Zidane’s fault that Hazard is always injured? The Belgian should be the star of the team but can hardly play due to injuries. He has already missed 37 games since he joined and certainly more to come.
Is it Zidane’s fault that Ramos got injured with the national team? Injuries are weighing Madrid down this season. Until Tuesday, when Karim Benzema returned, Madrid had three games in a row without their spine: Ramos, Fede Valverde, Hazard and Benzema, one starter in each line out due to injuries. The loss of Ramos is the most dramatic: without him, they’ve lost eight of the last ten Champions League games played.
Is it Zidane’s fault that Vinícius and Rodrygo still do not shine? Madrid spent 100 million euros on two Brazilians who look good, but are not yet world stars. We are talking about two youngsters who are still developing, and not ready to carry a team.
Madrid’s debacle began the moment Cristiano Ronaldo left. With Zidane at the wheel, they began life after Ronaldo with a weakened squad that won the Supercopa and LaLiga. For that alone, he deserves respect and patience, all the patience that is required. Because Zidane has earned it, and because he always turns it around.