While Real Madrid fans will be keen to forget the harrowing experiences of 2015, 2016 holds plenty of promise as Florentino Perez rolls out the red carpet for Zinedine Zidane.
“This club is yours”, the president thundered, shortly after wielding the axe on Rafael Benitez as he handed over the crown to the Frenchman.
Putting all their eggs in the same basket, 2016 will prove to be an important year for all those involved with the club. As the year marks the start of the a Zizouai??i?? era at Real Madrid, letai??i??s look at what every Real Madrid fan would love to see as the Frenchman stakes his claim on the throne.
More noise on the pitch than off it
Rafael Benitez earned the wrath of the dressing room shortly after his appointment. The Spaniard publicly clashed with superstar Cristiano Ronaldo in the pre-season tour, while his closing weeks at the club were dominated by reports suggesting a failed relationship with the likes of James Rodriguez and Isco.
Zinedine Zidaneai??i??s appointment therefore, can be seen as an attempt to repair such a damaged relationship between the manager and his players. The Frenchman commands respect at the club and his promotion is likely to go down well in the dressing room. His stature will ensure a harmonious atmosphere, with few players likely to contest his decisions at the club.
Hence, Real Madrid will be hoping for a renewed sense of enthusiasm and vigour at the club as the former Champions League winner returns to steer the club out of its current predicament. With Zidaneai??i??s appointment, Real Madrid seek to make more noise on the pitch than off it.
Of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez
Benitezai??i??s appointment heralded a new era at the club that was supposed to revolve around the greatness of Gareth Bale. Florentino Perez publicly chastised former manager Carlo Ancelotti for substituting the Welshman, making it clear that it was this decision, along with other factors known only to the President himself that cost him his job at the club.
The message was clear — Gareth Bale was to be the new face of the club. While Rafael Benitez followed the instructions to the dot, even at the cost of disrupting the harmony of the dressing room, it was eventually his teamai??i??s lacklustre performance that cut his tenure short.
It will be interesting to see how Zinedine Zidane tackles the issue concerning Cristiano Ronaldo and his heir apparent. The Welshman has failed to succeed in a No 10 role and Real Madridai??i??s performance could well depend on his position on the pitch along with that of James Rodriguez and Isco. The Frenchman could reinstate Bale on the right wing, allowing James Rodriguez to conduct the proceedings in the middle of the pitch. The Colombian international has been influential in his limited appearances this season as his feud with Benitez cost him a spot in the starting eleven. His ability to link up the play could well be the key to turn around Real Madridai??i??s fortunes on the pitch this season.
A Clasico revenge
While Rafael Benitezai??i??s failure at the club could be attributed to several different factors, an embarrassing 4-0 defeat against Barcelona signaled the beginning of the failure of Florentino Perezai??i??s new pet project. Such a humiliating Clasico defeat brought down the wrath of the Madrid faithfuls as fans took to booing the club president and manager alike. It also highlighted just how efficient Real Madrid were under the guidance of Carlo Ancelotti, and the sharp decline that followed his departure.
Hence, Real Madrid will be looking to avenge themselves as they turn over a new leaf following the inglorious farewell meted out to Rafael Benitez. Winning against a Barcelona side managed by his old rival Luis Enrique would probably rank high on Zidaneai??i??s priorities this year. A clasico revenge would perhaps be the best way to reinvigorate the players and the fans alike.
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