Madrid have improved under their famous new manager, but at the time of writing, after a laboured 1-1 away draw against Malaga at the Rosaleda Stadium, they sit nine points behind FC Barcelona and 3 behind Atletico Madrid. Even with Benitez gone, Real Madrid in La Liga is still not a success story.
With the exit of Rafa Benitez and the appointment of Zinedine Zidane as Real Madrid tecnico there has been an instant improvement in the merengues. The sense of improved teamwork and self-belief is now palpable. Even though Ronaldo seems quiet and oddly out of sorts there is plenty of spare top class capacity to fit in. Top players like Bale, Isco, Modric, James and Benzema now look happier in their skins and the team plays as a cohesive unit, focused on the attack, with a higher offensive line.
Groomed as Florentino’s man, Zizou’s presence makes for more harmony behind the scenes at the Bernabeu and at the Valdebebas training ground. Zidane’s bid to emulate “old boy” success stories like Guardiola and Luis Enrique looks as if it might just stand a chance. Or does it…
Real Madrid in La Liga since Zidane took over – happy in Madrid, unhappy down south
Beginning with a 5-0 thrashing of Deportivo in his first match, Real Madrid’s new manager has set the Bernabeu on fire, winning all 4 home games netting a total of 20 goals while conceding only 3. In Zidane’s three away matches, curiously all in Andalucia, however, the whites have struggled, tying with Betis, winning narrowly against Granada thanks to a piece of Modric genius and then drawing again with Malaga (to hear the disquieting chant of “Adios a La Liga” from the fried-fish-munching home fans).
El Clasico – as ever the decisive fixture
There remains one major obstacle to Zidane’s bid to be Madrid’s Guardiola or Luis Enrique. It’s called FC Barcelona. With only 12 Liga matches to go this season, the champions appear relentless and just keep winning. The Clasico match between the two greats of Spanish football, will one suspects, be Zidane’s last chance to start his tenure at the Bernabeu by claiming the Liga title – anything but a win there may simply leave Real Madrid with too much to do.