Real Madrid have suffered their worst campaign in 10 years… with Gareth Bale on the way out, Eden Hazard arriving and Zinedine Zidane dreaming of Sadio Mane, will they bounce back?
- Real Madrid’s season continues to plummet as their struggles continues
- Real lost for the 16th time this season – with defeat at Rayo Vallecano on Sunday
- Zinedine Zidane blasted his Real players following the defeat at lowly Rayo
- He is planning a summer overhaul of his squad with Eden Hazard among targets
Real Madrid’s defeat on Sunday was their 16th of the season and it will not have been lost on their president Florentino Perez that it’s their worse season for 10 years. A decade ago he was not president but he’ll remember the 2008-09 campaign because it was so bad the club held elections at the end of it and he was able came back as president – the saviour of an institution on its knees.
Vicente Boluda was briefly president during the 08-09 season and went down in the club’s history as the big mouth who insulted Liverpool before their Champions League last-16 tie saying: ‘We will piddle all over them’. Rafa Benitez’s team knocked Madrid out.
They did no better in the Copa del Rey losing to lower league minnows Real Union in the last 16. Royston Drenthe played 52 games that season – he would later fail to make an impression at Everton. Gonzalo Higuaín was still a young a striker. He top-scored with 22 goals in La Liga and 24 in all competitions. Raul also got 24 in all competitions – he was approaching the end of his time at the club but still hanging on in the side more for name than form.
Real Madrid’s season took another turn for the worse on Sunday with defeat at Rayo Vallecano
The loss was their 16th of the season – making it Real’s worse season for 10 years
You have to go back to the 2008-09 campaign for a poor Real campaign in recent history
The club also made the bizarre signing of Julien Faubert from West Ham in the winter window. It was difficult to know who was more stunned: the player, Madrid fans, or West Ham. The defining image of his time at the club was of him falling asleep on the bench as an unused substitute.
Bernd Schuster was coach until December 13. He admitted before a game against Barcelona that it was ‘impossible’ to beat them and paid with his job. Juande Ramos took over and proved Schuster’s point losing twice against them – the second time 6-2 at the Bernabeu.
It was a disastrous campaign but for all the losses Madrid only finished nine points behind Barcelona in second place and they only changed managers twice. This season the gap is 18 points and there are still three games left. Three games that the third manager of the season Zidane would prefer not to play.
On Sunday night in the modest surroundings of Rayo Vallecano’s tiny press room he wore the look of a man who had no answers to give and was not hiding the fact that he had no answers.
Zinedine Zidane wore the look of a man who had no answers to give following Sunday’s defeat
The Frenchman slammed the players’ attitude and the fact that the team ‘did not run’
‘Is Gareth Bale’s mind somewhere else?’ he was asked. ‘I don’t know you will have to ask him,’ came back the reply. He tore into his players. ‘We cannot play like this. It is not just them, I am responsible too because I pick the team and prepare the game with the players. Today was just opposite of the plan we had.
‘We didn’t do anything. From the first minute to the last on every level. We have to be very, very angry. I am angry. Our image was bad. We have to apologise to the supporters for what we did today. All of us.’
Most damning of all he slammed the players’ attitude and the fact that the team ‘did not run’. It was talk of a man trying to ram home to the club directors that the squad must be shaken up in the summer. The problem is that the worse Madrid play the more the price of their players drop and they need to sell those players for reasonable sums so as to finance the huge rebuild that Zidane is demanding.
Despite another disappointing performance from Paul Pogba at the weekend Zidane still wants the French midfielder to give his team back some engine room energy for next season. He wants Eden Hazard and he would like a striker too.
Gareth Bale is one of the many Real players Zidane is looking to offload as in a squad revamp
Liverpool forward Sadio Mane is Zidane’s dream signing up front at the Santiago Bernabeu
Sadio Mane is his dream signing up front and, failing that, Luka Jovic is another he fancies. He knows that without big money coming in for Bale and Toni Kroos the funds will not be there for such massive reinvestment.
Marca ran an editorial of sorts last week that was headlined: Evolution over revolution. After all the noise of the €500m war-chest Madrid know they cannot ride roughshod over the other clubs in Europe as they used to. They no longer have the financial advantage over them.
Liverpool don’t need to sell them Mane if Mane does not want to leave. Pogba does want to leave but even that will not mean Manchester United have no option but to cave in.
Hazard will arrive and from Madrid’s point of view sooner rather than later. The announcement of his signing would lift the interminable gloom clouding the last few weeks of the season. But the club know they cannot close the transfer until Chelsea’s competitive involvement has reached its close – and that might not happen until after the Europa League final. It’s going to be a long three weeks.
On the bright side – it’s not the worst season ever. They would have to lose all of their last three matches to plumb those depths matching the 19 defeats of the 1984-85 campaign. Surely things will not get that bad… or can they?
Eden Hazard (left) is expected to join Real this summer, while Paul Pogba would like to