Zinedine Zidane was supposed to be the solution. Instead, the Frenchman is starting to look like at least one of the causes of Real Madrid’s recent problems. The capital club might be sat at the top of Spanish Liga table, but that doesn’t quite tell the whole story of their season so far.
Back-to-back draws against Atletico Madrid and Club Brugge, with Real Madrid fighting back from 2-0 down at home to claim a point against the Belgians, have piled the pressure on Zidane. Now, it seems he might be just one or two bad results away from being sacked such is the level of speculation around his position.
Potential replacements have been discussed. Xabi Alonso’s name has been put forward, with the former Real Madrid midfielder currently a coach at Real Sociedad. Max Allegri has also been mentioned, with the Italian coach currently out of work after leaving Juventus at the end of last season.
The Spanish press seem convinced, however, that Jose Mourinho is the man most likely so succeed Zidane, returning to the Santiago Bernabeu six years after his first stint there came to an end. He is apparently the man club president Florentino Perez sees as the solution to Real Madrid’s immediate problems.
Mourinho, of course, has pedigree. While his first spell at Real Madrid ended acrimoniously, he did enjoy success there, beating Pep Guardiola’s great Barcelona side to a league title. The Portuguese is a two-time Champions League winner and has won championships in four different countries. But his return to Real Madrid would be a mark of the club’s lack of direction.
He would be a plaster on a gaping wound. Mourinho showed in his last job as Manchester United manager that a toxic environment brings out the worst in him. By taking over at Real Madrid he would be stepping into an environment even more toxic than the one he left behind at Old Trafford nearly a year ago.
Real Madrid’s last three appointments have all been misguided. This time they must get it right. They must evoke the spirit of their 2010 appointment of Mourinho, when the Portuguese was the best manager in the European game, but avoid the man himself. Back then, Real Madrid waited to get the right man in. Perez must look back at that example in order to move forward.
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