Zidane and his players’ betrayal

27 Jan 2018

Zinedine Zidane has a point when he says that he is the main person responsable for the situation Real Madrid are going through. He can admit it. I also believe that he is to blame, but not for tactical errors or poor direction on the pitch, but for trusting so much in the players, for being a better person than he is a coach and for allowing the players to little by little take over a dressing room which now seems uncontrollable and which will be the end of him.

Zidane is giving a lot more to his players this season than they are giving to him. It’s not his fault that the strikers aren’t scoring goals. Or that the midfielders have been playing slowly this season. Or that the starting full-backs have given just five assists all season. Or that Marco Asensio is going through a disappointing time and doesn’t look happy, perhaps because he hoped to have more minutes. Or that more than half of the squad are thinking about the World Cup and are calculating so much rest. Does Cristiano Ronaldo really need so much rest?

Zidane has defended them over these past few years, even last summer, protecting a group that didn’t want too many changes. What he has found is a squad that has lost its appetite on the pitch. Zidane’s ways are the same as they have been in the past two seasons, with the same training methods and the same way of approaching matches and the season. What has changed has been the performance of the players and the hunger of the squad, for whom it’s possible that there have been too many renovations and for whom winning might have become tiring.

“This one doesn’t have the same emotion of the first one,” Isco even said to Lucas Vazquez after beating Manchester United in the UEFA Super Cup, an anecdote from the summer that maybe explains a lot of the things that are happening now.

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