One of the greatest clubs in the history of football, Real Madrid has had countless stellar performances every season. However, the current season has been a disaster for the club, its players and its fans. With the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo and Zinedine Zidane at the end of the previous season, the club appointed Julen Lopetegui as its new manager.
Period under Lopetegui:
Real Madrid appointed Lopetegui as the club manager during the FIFA World Cup. As a result of which, the Spain national team sacked Lopetegui. The club had a good start under Lopetegui and the players were happy under their new coach. However, the flair started to fade gradually, the club got thrashed by Barcelona (and Messi was not even playing!) and Real Madrid plummeted to 9th position in the league. As a result of which, Real Madrid sacked Lopetegui. Quite a difficult year for Lopetegui!
Period Under Solari:
Santiago Solari, the then manager of Real Madrid Castilla, was appointed as an interim manager. The club started performing well under Solari and recovered its position, back into the top 3. However, the success was short-lived. Despite winning the Club World Cup, Real Madrid failed to live up to their expectations. Barcelona knocked Real Madrid out of Copa del Rey in the semi-finals stage. Surprisingly, Ajax knocked Real Madrid out of the Champions League in the Round of 16 stage. This was the final nail in the coffin for Solari. A win against Real Valladolid was not enough for Solari to keep his job.
AND THEN CAME ZINEDINE ZIDANE!!!
Zidane could not say “no” to Real Madrid President Florentino Perez. And also, owing to his love for the club, the Frenchman returned ten months after leaving the club as the manager. Zidane has graced the club both as a player and a manager. As a manager, Zidane has won the Champions League (3x), the La Liga (1x), the Spanish Super Cup (2x), the UEFA Super Cup (2x) and the FIFA Club World Cup (2x).
Zidane has made plans to bring back the club’s glory days next season. With a reported transfer budget of €500 Million, Zidane is set to revamp the squad and sign Galacticos. Already having signed defender Eder Militao from FC Porto, the Los Blancos has reportedly targeted to sign some of the following players in the coming season:
Kylian Mbappe from PSG
Christian Eriksen from Tottenham Hotspurs
Eden Hazard from Chelsea
Paul Pogba from Manchester United
Mauro Icardi from Inter Milan
The likes of Vinicius Junior, Sergio Reguilon, Federico Valverde have performed well for the club. Several reports claim Zidane might let go of Gareth Bale, Dani Ceballos and James Rodriguez in the summer. The future of players like Brahim Diaz, Mariano Diaz, Martin Odegaard are yet to be decided. Zidane has convinced Marcelo to stay, who could have joined Juventus. As a result of which Reguilon might not get as many starts as he used to get under Solari despite having an impressive season so far.
The fans are happy! The board is happy! The players are happy! The Zinedine Zidane effect! However, the biggest challenge for Zidane would be to find a player who can fill in the boots of Cristiano Ronaldo.