Zinedine Zidane’s return to Real Madrid as coach has been well documented but once the dust has settled, the press conferences taken place and the excitement dissipated what Madrid fans needed and owner Florentino Perez was a reaction from what has been on the large part a dismal season for Los Blancos. That reaction came at the weekend after a solid 2-0 win at home to Celta Vigo.
It was a relief win because anything else would have felt like a comedown after the high of Zidane returning or even worse a continuation of Santiago Solari’s leadership. In truth Solari was offered a dream job and took it but was in no position to take it up, and he shouldn’t be completely blamed for what has been a forgettable season.
So what will be Zidane’s objective until the end of the season? First and foremost his job will be to install a winning mentality again, that of invincibility and it is obvious that his players are thrilled that he is back in the dug out. Giving Zidane those 10 matches or so until the end of the season was a smart choice from Perez as it gives Zidane a feel for the role again before more serious issues of having a smooth pre season and then a serious next one.
But the issue of this season will be trying to finish in 2nd place and the runners up spot to Barcelona. With Atletico Madrid losing 2-0 at Bilbao at the weekend Madrid have been able to close the gap on Diego Simeone’s side to just 2 points and it is clear that with Zidane stepping in Real now has the drive to progress.
Neither Atletico or Real will be catching Barcelona this season who have taken a 10 point lead at the top with 10 games remaining. In theory it’s up for grabs but the way that Barcelona have been playing they would have to suffer one of the biggest meltdowns in their history and that seems simply too unlikely.
But who can get 2nd place? And make no mistake 2nd place is important to Real Madrid in a season when if they finish 3rd simply seems odd. Atletico still have some very tough matches including having to play Barcelona away from home and it seems that these two who have been in many battles before are about to under go another one, albeit one which is less glamourous.