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Zizou looks out of his depth as Real Madrid manager

Zidane, Real Madrid, Perez, Ancelotti, Benitez
Zidane’s only realistic chance of a trophy this season remains the Champions League. His team is 12 points adrift of leaders Barcelona in third place with 12 matches to go.

It seemed the obvious path in his right to succession. At the start of this year club legend Zinedine Zidane was appointed Real Madrid manager, replacing the doomed-from-the-start Rafael Benitez. At that stage Real were just two points behind La Liga leaders and defending champions Barcelona. In just two months Real find themselves 12 points behind their arch-rivals with valid questions being asked about Zidane’s managerial capabilities.

If the decision to sack the experienced Carlo Ancelotti with Rafael Benitez over the summer was quizzical, the call to sack Benitez reeked of desperation. Benitez had previously and successfully managed some of the best clubs in the world, while Zidane – despite his god-like status in Madrid – looks more like an appointment to stem the show of white handkerchiefs at the Bernabeu (a sign of disgust by the club supporters).

Last weekend Real Madrid lost 0-1 to their neighbours Atletico, in a performance arguably even worse than their 4-0 El Clasico defeat in November. Astonishingly even Zidane seemed perplexed by his side’s performance, openly questioning his side’s work-rate as compared to their neighbours. Zidane was right in his bewilderment though – Real players ran a staggering 11km less than Atletico in the derby. Cristiano Ronaldo too added fuel to the fire claiming his teammates ‘were not at his level’.

Sadly there is truth in Ronaldo’s claims. While Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale have met expectations this season, massive problems lie with big-money signings James Rodriquez and Isco. Both criticised Benitez when he dropped them earlier this season, but have failed to prove their worth to the first XI under Zidane. Rodriguez has not helped matters with a petulant attitude when benched and his recent legal troubles, while Isco’s apparent request of a transfer may be happily acceded to by the club.

Club captain Sergio Ramos and Zidane himself have tried to quell talk of a crises at the club. But fresh rumours are building that Zidane will be replaced by Athletic Bilbao manager Ernesto Valverde in the summer.

Anyone who occupies the Real Madrid hot seat knows that abrupt endings are the norm. Unfortunately Zidane may find out that it lasts just half a season.

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