Big time for Zinedine Zidane: after his worst European defeat on the bench of Real Madrid, swept 3-0 Wednesday in Paris, the French coach to whom everything succeeded discovers the reverse of the trade, with a new pitfall in sight Sunday in Seville . Will he be good in the turmoil?
- The Real drowned in intensity -
During his first term, Zidane made the Champions League his home territory by winning three consecutive trophies in two and a half years (2016-2018). But Wednesday at the Parc des Princes, nothing worked for the French coach, already faced with his first doubts since his return as savior on the merengue bank in March.
"A real crystal," writes the sports daily Marca. "Without soul", accuses As, while the press of Barcelona quips on this merengue debacle: "Crushed!", Seals in the newspaper Sport.
So far, Real de Zidane has never lost by more than two goals in C1: his worst setbacks were a 2-0 at Wolfsburg in the quarterfinals 2016, wiped out by a 3-0 win in return, and two losses 3 -1 without consequences against Tottenham and Juventus in 2017-2018. This is to say the magnitude of the shock: the sinking in Paris echoes the lost clasico against Barcelona Bernabeu stadium in December 2017 (3-0).
What jumped to the eyes Wednesday is the lack of impact of a team certainly weakened by absences (Ramos, Modric, Marcelo ...) but eaten in envy.
The symbol of a certain gentrification for players who have won everything: "Intensity is the most important," lamented Zidane. "If we set foot, and we win the duel, we are in the game."
- The Madrilenian evils are deep -
The same evils have persisted since last season, since Real has no longer managed to preserve his cage in an official match since April 25. And the attack remains on AC: no shot framed Wednesday (despite two goals logically canceled by the referee).
This team doubts and no longer scares opponents. "Real is bad, everyone knows and the opponents have stopped being frightened by its prestige", summarizes Alfredo Relano, famous editorialist of the newspaper As.
Zidane had already relaunched the team for the first time in January 2016, and by recalling it, President Florentino Pérez hoped the miracle would work a second time.
But the evils are deep. And the Real lived "a bad summer" for Relano by spending 300 M EUR on the transfer market without strengthening in a key sector, the midfield, where Zidane dreamed of Paul Pogba. On Wednesday, Toni Kroos and James Rodriguez sank physically.
"He missed reinforcements to send Real Madrid to another dimension," said Argentina's Jorge Valdano, former Merengue sports director, on Onda Cero radio.
- Seville, the lull or the storm -
The Madrilenians try to reassure themselves by explaining that the goal of qualifying for the eighth is still achievable provided they beat Club Brugge and Galatasaray, two rivals available, in group A. "The result is bad but not enough to do a drama, "pleaded James Rodriguez.
Zidane has also refused to point fingers some players appeared in great difficulty, as for example the Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois. In any case, he does not have many possibilities to rotate his staff in view of absences and will especially have to act on the minds.
"We're all here in the same boat, we win or lose together, we have to forget this defeat, we have a match on Sunday and that's what we have to focus on," he said. .
Except that the doubts could turn into crisis in case of new underperformance: the "White House" moves Sunday on the ground of Sevilla FC, current leader of Liga. And Sevilla coach Julen Lopetegui has an account to settle with Real, who dismissed him bluntly in October 2018.
"ZZ" had warned that this second term would be "a bigger challenge" for him. Here he is alone at the bar, under a shower of criticism. That's also the life of Real Madrid coach.
© 2019 AFP