90min

Zinedine Zidane must win Champions League to save Real Madrid job

Tom Gott
Zinedine Zidane's job is under threat
Zinedine Zidane's job is under threat / Soccrates Images/Getty Images
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Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane must win the Champions League if he wants to keep his job past the end of the current season.

January was not kind to Real, who were knocked out of the Spanish Super Cup in the semi-finals against Athletic Club before being humiliated by third-tier side Alcoyano in the Copa del Rey, and the month ended with a 2-1 loss to Levante in La Liga.

January was a humiliating month for Real
January was a humiliating month for Real / Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

With the Super Cup and Copa del Rey already gone, AS note that Real believe La Liga is also already out of their reach too. Zidane's side are ten points behind leaders Atletico Madrid, who also have a game in hand, and Barcelona recently leapfrogged them into second.

Saturday's loss to Levante has effectively marked the end of their chances of winning the title, leaving the Champions League as the only trophy left for Zidane to win this year. If he wants to keep his job, he better win it. No pressure.

It's a sentiment which has only grown in the aftermath of that Levante defeat, but it actually started following the elimination from the Copa del Rey.

Zidane confessed he was under pressure again after being eliminated from two competitions in six days, and it was at that point that rumours of a possible departure from Real began to surface again. Concerns over Zidane's management of the squad had grown too high, and results were nowhere near good enough to try and ignore that.

The boss is believed to only have faith in 13 or 14 first-team players and his treatment of fringe players has contributed to the sour mood, and Real believe that something needs to change.

It was suggested that Real want to make it to the end of the season with Zidane before cutting him loose in the summer, and with the league title slipping further and further away, that feeling has been intensified. Some reports even believed he would be lucky to make it to the end of January.

Real look to be out of the title race
Real look to be out of the title race / Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

The chaos has left Zidane needing to lift the Champions League trophy again, or else he looks set to be out of a job.

As a result, the boss is expected to use La Liga games purely as extra preparation for Champions League games. Mass rotation is expected over the next few weeks in anticipation of the last 16 meeting with Atalanta on February 24.


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