Real Madrid is counting on Zidane's European magic to save his season
Real Madrid, Spain, returns to its favorite competition, the European Champions League in football, when it comes to Atalanta Bergamo today in the first leg of the final, relying on his "European wizard", his French coach Zinedine Zidane, hoping to save his season after leaving empty-handed from the Cup competition Local, and behind its neighbor Atletico Madrid in the League.
The three consecutive titles in the continental competition between 2016 and 2018 remain firmly in minds during the first term of Zidane at the head of the technical administration of the Royal Club, after which Zizou did not achieve anything continental.
Since his return to Real Madrid leadership in March 2019, Zidane has failed to skip the final price of the Champions League competition, as his career was interrupted by Ajax Amsterdam (2-1 in Amsterdam and 1-4 in Madrid in 2019) and then Manchester City (1-2 in the first leg). Madrid and the same result back to Manchester in 2020).
All of this raises questions among the "Madrid" fans: Is the Champions League still "the complete competition" for "Zizou"?
The absence of Benzema
is difficult to convince, given the large number of absences due to the injuries that hit the royal house, which have complicated Zidane's mission since the beginning of the year 2021. And to the absences of Brazilian Rodrigo, Uruguayan Federico Valverde, Alvaro Audriusola, Belgian Eden Hazar, Brazilian Eder Militao and his compatriot Marcelo, it was added. Recently, other basic pillars injuries and this concerns Danny Carvajal (right thigh) and Commander Sergio Ramos (he performed the operation on the inner meniscus of his left knee and will be absent until the end of March), who has not yet extended his contract, which expires on 30 June.
Perhaps the issue is difficult to forget for "Zizo" is the absence of his scorer and fellow countryman Karim Benzema (17 goals this season) due to an ankle injury he suffered against Valencia (2-0 on February 14 in the Spanish League), according to the Spanish media.
Benzema was absent from the Royal ranks in his last league match against Valladolid, and according to the list announced by Real Madrid on Monday, the former French international striker will not travel with his teammates to Italy.
But even if Atalanta Bergamo is presenting strong levels since last season at the continental level, as Valencia eliminated the Spanish from the final price (beat it 4-1 back and forth 4-3), before it came out hard and in stoppage time from his confrontation with Paris San French German German in the quarter-finals (1-2) after he was ahead until the 90th minute, coach Jean-Pierre Gasperini's men are suffering this season in the domestic league, where they occupy sixth place, the last qualified places to continental competitions, and present less exciting levels than their predecessor.
And then, it must not be forgotten that the Champions League competition was the competition that often allowed Zidane and Real to rebound after periods of decline domestically.
In November 2019, when Real Madrid's glamor dimmed and Zidane's fate was at stake, beating Turkey's Galatasaray with half a dozen goals was the gateway to the royal club's 21-game unbeaten series until early February.
On the ninth of December 2020, the decisive victory over Borussia Monchengladbach (2-0) allowed the Merengue to reserve their card to the final price round of the prestigious continental competition, the leaders of their group, and then achieved a series of nine matches without defeat until mid-January.
As a technical manager who is good at managing his team, Zidane will now have to give more offensive responsibilities to players who are not usually the first choice against the three sticks.
This will be the case of the young Brazilian Vinicius Junior, whom "Zizo" had expected a lot from three years ago, and his compatriot midfielder Casemiro was the surprise of the season as Real Madrid's second scorer this season with six goals in various competitions, the last of which was the goal of winning over Valladolid (1-0) Saturday in LaLiga.
Some players will be required to emerge from the shadows to allow Zinedine Zidane to retain the "European Wizard" title for a little longer.
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