When you get broken up with out of the blue, get rejected a few times by the good looking people you'd been lowkey flirting with before, have two brief and disastrous rebound flings before you break down and call your
On a completely unrelated note, Zinedine Zidane has returned to Real Madrid.
Zidane replaced Santiago Solari, who himself replaced Julen Lopetegui - the 3am Bumble match of managerial appointments - just a few months before.
The Frenchman's shock departure from the Bernabeu in the summer was due, in part, to Real's refusal to hand over proper control of the club's transfers to him after winning three consecutive Champions League titles. His return, less than a year later, suggests that some concessions have been made to that point. Zidane talked up how he came back out of love for the club and the city but, like the slight over-posting on Facebook and 'This One <3 <3' pictures on Instagram, it feels forced.
Much like this rapidly failing relationship metaphor though, Real's squad does need a whole lot of sprucing up. Like, a lot.
Last season's Champions League win masked the most flawed Real squad of Zidane's tenure, by a long way. Even with this season's chaos - genuinely shambolic chaos - the team has more points than they did this time last season and are closer to Barcelona.
Well, at least taking the Real Madrid job isn't Zidane's worst decision of the day now. pic.twitter.com/AIosOG7lAp— Chris Deeley (@ThatChris1209) March 11, 2019
That Champions League win saw Real beat a number of top teams. Paris Saint-Germain fell, so did Juventus and Bayern Munich, but Real were outplayed in almost all of those games; they won the key moments and got lucky when the luck came. The final was a crystallised example of that.
Point is, Zidane isn't a miracle worker and his last season showed just how many major cracks this squad has. Cristiano Ronaldo was the only major departure this last summer, but (and this isn't news) he wasn't replaced.
Players will leave this summer. Gareth Bale will either leave or be effectively sidelined - his lack of a relationship with Zidane is well known. Toni Kroos has been off the pace for at least a year, and turns 30 next season. Luka Modric is 33. Karim Benzema is the wrong side of 30. Marcelo is 30, and Juve want him. Sergio Ramos, even, turns 33 this month and could be moved along by Florentino Perez if a buyer is found.
Say two of those players leave this summer. That leaves Real with their pre-existing left-back issue, their need for a right-sided attacker (Lucas Vazquez? Really?) and a goalscorer. Maybe a defensive midfielder, for when Casemiro isn't good.
Oh, and there are only two teams in the top half with a worse defensive record. Maybe another centre-back joins the list.
It's kind of...not all that bad though, if Real manage this right. Sergio Reguilon has proven this season that he can step into the left-back hole that Marcelo has created, and Marcos Llorente has the potential to step into a potential gap in defensive midfield.
That's one, maybe two attackers to come in the summer, perhaps a centre-back, and that's more or less it for the immediate concerns. The rest is about a steady turnover - Dani Ceballos is unlikely to make it at Real under Zidane (see his quotes in the summer when he thought Zidane was gone for good, that's a broken relationship), but Isco and Marco Asensio can step back into much bigger roles than they've played this season to ease the ageing out of Modric and Bale's impending disappearance.
The key isn't clearing out the whole squad and starting fresh, it's about adding one or two difference makers - buying smart. It'll have to be smart though, Real don't have that much money to play with.
To dial back on that almost as soon as saying it; they're Real Madrid. They still have money. But there's a reason they signed Vinicius rather than Neymar or Mbappe. There's a reason they've gone scattergun on young players rather than splashing out huge in the last couple of seasons. They're limited in the market, which means that spending £100m on Eden Hazard - a player they don't need - would be really f*cking stupid.
Look at Hazard's career. He wants to play out on the left but Real Madrid's two brightest young talents, Vinicius and Asensio, both play on the left. Strengthening a position of strength when you have to be considered and calculated in the market just doesn't make any sense.
What's the summing up point here? If anything, it's 'wait and see'. Real have squad problems, but squad problems which aren't as bad as they look. They have money to spend, but have to do it wisely. Eden Hazard wants to come, but they shouldn't buy him.
They'll probably win the Champions League next season.