Successive Champions League winners and La Liga title holders Real Madrid have seen a dramatic change in fortunes over the last six months.
It was in August when Zinedine Zidane’s men sealed a second piece of silverware in a week’s time – having grabbed a Spanish Super Cup trophy eight days after their UEFA Super Cup triumph over Manchester United – to add to a highly successful season for the French tactician in charge of Los Blancos.
Everything seemed to be running smoothly for one of Europe’s biggest clubs and few would have hoped to see the devastating turn in plot.
Are Transfers to Blame – The Lack of Those That Is?
With trophies and silverware speaking in his favour, Zinedine Zidane managed to persuade the traditionally lavish Real Madrid president Florentino Perez not to invest big in new players, arguing that the current star-studded crop was more than enough to build on the success achieved in the 2016/17 campaign.
Los Blancos scooped signatures of Atletico Madrid’s Theo Hernandez and Spanish sensation Dani Ceballos who joined from Real Betis for a combined fee worth £41.85 million.
On the other side of the spectrum, Real Madrid pocketed the total of £108.9 million by selling the likes of Alvaro Morata, Danilo, Mariano Diaz, Diego Llorente and loaning out – for a fee of course – James Rodriguez and Fabio Coentrao.
Six months fast-forward will demonstrate that Zinedine Zidane’s decision not to invest in new signings came to haunt him with Los Blancos sitting huge 19 points behind Barcelona in the La Liga standings, out of Copa del Rey and in front of a crucial – and season-defining – two-legged tie against reinvigorated Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League.
Why Didn’t Zidane Buy During January?
The Frenchman had six months to see for himself that the players he lost during the summer transfer window significantly weakened Real Madrid’s squad.
With Dani Ceballos and Theo Hernandez widely failing to make their mark at Real Madrid, Zinedine Zidane was left short of options in key positions. Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema were hit with a disturbing lack of form this campaign and it’s fair to say that Borja Mayoral is far from being a top-class replacement which could be expected to lead the forward line.
In the meantime, Alvaro Morata with 10 goals scored over at Chelsea and Mariano with 13 Ligue 1 goals on his tally would have been more than welcome additions at this point in time.
Zinedine Zidane’s decision to rely on vastly the same XI throughout the season turned out to be quite a miss from the French manager – who is ready to take the blame on himself. Still, with Cristiano Ronaldo cutting an unhappy figure this term and Gareth Bale struggling to shake off his injury worries to a full effect, some January additions would have come quite handy.
Crucial Period Ahead of Zinedine Zidane
And when many a Real Madrid fan expected Los Blancos to make move towards the likes of Mauro Icardi and Julian Weigl – as the two top January targets – Zinedine Zidane remained quiet in the market with Real Madrid becoming the only Spanish club not to make a single signing this winter.
It’s a peculiarly weird notion knowing that Real Madrid’s direct rivals – Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Valencia but even Sevilla and Athletic Bilbao – made enough effort to sign the likes of Philippe Coutinho, Diego Costa, Vietto, Roque Mesa and Inigo Martinez, respectively, boosting their ranks and filling the gaps.
It’s shocking, really, to see Real Madrid remain inactive amidst such a disastrous campaign which could very much go from bad to worse if Zinedine Zidane gets thrown out of the Champions League by his compatriots PSG.
Real Madrid are found at 4/6 price to qualify for the next round of Europe’s elite competition but the emerging Parisians are here to argue otherwise.
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