Sports

Zidane’s future at Real Madrid uncertain after lackluster season

Sports Desk, May 22 (EFE).- Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane turned aside questions about his plans after the Blancos won their final match of the LaLiga season Saturday only to finish in second place, 2 points behind champions Atletico Madrid.

“The most important thing is not me, it is what the players have done all season. I must congratulate them and reflect with time, with calmness. I will speak calmly with the club later, not now,” the Frenchman told reporters after the 2-1 victory against Villarreal.

Besides falling short in their fight to retain the LaLiga title, the Blancos crashed out of the Copa del Rey and Spanish Super Cup competitions and lost their Champions League semifinal tie with Chelsea.

It is the first season since 2009-2010 that the team has failed to win a trophy.

Zidane, who has spent much of the last two decades with Real Madrid as a player, adviser, sporting director and coach, knows that managers who don’t deliver titles don’t last very long with the club.

The man who led France to victory in the 1998 World Cup is in his second stint as coach of Real Madrid. He took charge of the team at mid-season in January 2016 and left after the Blancos won the Champions League for the third consecutive time in 2018.

Club management persuaded him to return in March 2019 and Zidane guided the Blancos to their 34th LaLiga title in 2020, bringing to 11 the number of trophies won with him at the helm.

The only Real Madrid manager with more, Miguel Muñoz, amassed his 14 titles in 14 years.

Despite 73 injuries affecting key players such as captain Sergio Ramos, who was out for weeks, the season was not without accomplishments.

The victory Saturday against Villarreal extended the Blancos’ winning streak to 18, a record for the Zidane era.

Even so, a major overhaul appears to be in the offing for Real Madrid, the most lucrative club in football, according to consultancy Brand Finance’s 2021 rankings. EFE rmm/dr

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