Zidane may need Champions League success to keep Madrid job
Zinedine Zidane has seen his hopes and dreams for Real Madrid’s season tumble around him over the last few weeks.
The first dent in the French head coach’s confidence came on January 14, when Athletic Bilbao knocked Los Blancos out of the Spanish Super Cup with a surprise 2-1 victory.
Then, just six days later, Zidane’s side showed up for what seemed like a straightforward third round tie in the Copa Del Rey against third-tier CD Alcoyano and somehow managed to give up a one-goal lead and lose the match in extra time.
If the calls for Zidane’s head weren’t loud then, they certainly reached new heights 10 days later in La Liga, when Levanta travelled to the capital and duly inflicted another surprise defeat on Madrid with their own 2-1 victory.
That final result now means that Madrid are out of both domestic cup competitions and sit 10 points behind bitter rivals Atletico Madrid in the table – who still have a game in hand.
As a result, it seems as though the Spanish giants have been in a reflective mood over the last few days.
According to a report in Sport, Zidane is unlikely to lose his job anytime soon but now has just one competition left to prove he’s still the man to lead Madrid next season. That, of course, is the Champions League.
That all-important hurdle comes on February 24, when Madrid face Serie A overachievers Atalanta in the Last 16 of the European competition.
While Zidane has plenty of experience in the competition – having won it once as a player at Madrid and then a following three times as a manager – he will now have to prove he can do it all over again if he hopes to keep his job in the Spanish capital.