Monday 25 March 2019

Five pressing issues facing 'Zizou'

Zidane will want to create as great a sense of unity as possible. Photo: Reuters/Susana Vera
Zidane will want to create as great a sense of unity as possible. Photo: Reuters/Susana Vera

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

Restoring confidence

Real crashed out of the Champions League in the last 16 with a 4-1 loss to Ajax last week - their fourth straight home defeat. It makes for some contrast to when Zidane departed in May, five days on from guiding them to European Cup glory for a third successive year.

 

The loss of Ronaldo

The major difference between the Real Zidane left and that which he is re-entering is that Cristiano Ronaldo is no longer being at the club. Los Blancos' all-time top-scorer moved to Juventus in July and their subsequent fortunes have only served to emphasise how much he contributed to their success during his time at the Bernabeu.

The Bale situation

It will certainly be interesting to see how things play out from here between Zidane and Gareth Bale. The Welshman has spoken of the frustration he felt at being left out of the starting line-up by Zidane for last season's Champions League final win over Liverpool, in which he memorably came off the bench and scored a spectacular overhead kick. After Bale, who has netted 13 times this term, was jeered by Real fans during the 1-0 loss to Barcelona on March 2, his agent Jonathan Barnett last week insisted the 29-year-old was "happy" and intended to stay beyond the summer. He was not involved in Sunday's win at Real Valladolid having ended the Ajax match with an ankle injury.

Rifts in the camp?

There have been various reports of disharmony in the dressing-room. Whatever has been going on, Zidane will want to create as great a sense of unity as possible as he looks to revive the place.

Building for the future

The summer promises to be fascinating in terms of players leaving and joining. And while Zidane, who has been handed a contract to 2022, will surely want some new blood, something else to consider in his mission to drive Real forward is the exciting young talent already in the squad, including teenagers Vinicius Junior and Brahim Diaz. If nurtured, they could have significant roles in the future.

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