2018 marked the end of an era for Real Madrid. The two most important members of the three consecutive UEFA Champions League winning team, Cristiano Ronaldo and Zinedine Zidane left the club and the effects of that still show. Though Zidane returned to become the manager of Los Blancos again after horrific spells under Julen Lopetegui and Santiago Solari, it’s fair to say that Madrid is now a shadow of what they were when they dominated Europe. Though they managed to win La Liga last season, they haven’t been able to carry any of that form into 20/21 season which has been marked by inconsistencies, injuries, on the pitch and off the pitch problems. The troubles have extended so much that Zidane’s job now stands in jeopardy.
Unconvincing start to the season
Real Madrid started the season as favourites to defend their title. The season began with a goalless draw against Real Sociedad and the offensive problems of last season were already showing. Although they managed to get their feet back in La Liga their European campaign began absolutely terribly. The Ukrainian side, Shakhtar Donestk shocked the whole world by defeating Real Madrid 3-2 away from home. This was followed by a 2-2 draw with Borussia Monchengladbach which Madrid managing to score in the dying moments of the game. A late goal from Rodrygo secured a win against Inter Milan on matchday three after the Los Blancos almost gave away the match. Domestic struggles persisted with an embarrassing 4-1 defeat to Valencia and the lost to Alaves 2-1. It’s just that their domestic struggles have been overshadowed by Barcelona‘s even worse situation. Madrid’s continental situation has so deteriorated that their group stage faith might rest on other matches rather in their own hands. This is not the Real Madrid we know; this is not the Real Madrid that the world uses to fear.
Poor Summer Business
Zidane’s return to Real Madrid rested on three new additions: Eden Hazard, Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe. Out of which he got only one, Hazard, who is yet to feature in four games in a row for Madrid. Zidane hasn’t been backed financially in the summer transfer window to improve an ageing and a depleted Real Madrid team. As a result, he was forced to go again with the same squad of last season with noted departures only. The Galacticos after Ronaldo’s departure has lacked a potent goal threat and even after two years, the offensive problems remain. Real’s wingers are not a goal threat anymore and barring Karim Benzema no other attacker provides a consistent goal-scoring option. Players like Raphael Varane and Marcelo who were core members of Zidane’s first tenure continue to commit errors and are still played. You don’t expect players like them to be told every match about the basics of the game.
Can it be corrected?
If there is any team in the world that can turn an irreversible decision than it is Real Madrid. The club has been in worse situations before and has come back stronger. With star names like Sergio Ramos, Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, Benzema, Thibaut Courtois present and the French manager at the helm, the 13-time Champions League winners can come out of this tough time with a proper plan and commitment towards success. The club needs major investment to undergo a major rebuild necessary to bring Madrid back to the top.
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