Real Madrid – La Liga: What Zidane must do to take Real Madrid forward

Real Madrid – La Liga Inconsistent so far this season

Zidane at the MestallaZidane at the Mestalla

Toni Kroos told MARCA recently that he believed Zinedine Zidane would find the solution to Real Madrid’s recent problems. Los Blancos have been in inconsistent form this season, with wins over Barcelona and Inter coming along with defeats to Cadiz and Shakhtar Donetsk.

Before the November international break, Zidane’s side were convincingly beaten by Valencia at the Mestalla, underlining the team’s irregularities even further.

So, if Kroos’ prophecy is to come true, what does the Real Madrid boss have to do?

Sergio Ramos is unlikely to be available for Saturday’s game against Villarreal after picking up an injury while playing for Spain on Tuesday. There are also doubts over his participation in the Champions League match against Inter next Wednesday.

In terms of replacements, Eder Militao has only just returned to training after testing positive for coronavirus, while Raphael Varane is a doubt with an injury of his own. The good news is that Dani Carvajal and Nacho are back fit.

There aren’t many players like Fede Valverde in the Real Madrid squad. However, he can’t play every game and needs a rest every now and then. Martin Odegaard is the closest player Los Blancos have to the Uruguayan and he’s ready to step up.

Neither player has been a regular starter under Zidane this season. Their form has been out of sorts but, at their best, they can prove major assets to any team.

It was Real Madrid’s defensive solidity that formed the bedrock to their successful LaLiga Santander title bid last season. Thibaut Courtois has kept his level from last campaign but very few others have. Zidane’s team have conceded goals at will this term, including penalties and own goals. They haven’t kept a clean sheet since October 3.

Real Madrid’s home form was what saw them get their hands on the LaLiga Santander title at the back end of last season. So far this campaign, they’ve already lost to Cadiz and Shakhtar at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano.

After a slow start, Karim Benzema has found his rhythm in front of goal this season. The Frenchman has five goals in his last four games but still hasn’t found a regular strike partner.

Vinicius Junior started the campaign well, scoring three goals, but has dropped out of the team with the return of Eden Hazard to full fitness. Elsewhere in the squad, Valverde and Ramos have scored three goals each. Luka Jovic and Mariano Diaz are yet to open their accounts.

Before he tested positive for COVID-19, Hazard was showing very promising signs that he was getting back towards his best form following his injury problems. It’s unlikely that the former Chelsea forward will play against Villarreal, but Zidane will be hoping he can continue to make the difference in future games.

Zidane is certainly a coach who prefers to rotate his squad but many of his fringe players are not performing to standard. As well as Isco and Marcelo, Rodrygo Goes and Marco Asensio aren’t at their best.

The centre-back hasn’t quite looked himself since his two mistakes cost Real Madrid against Manchester City in August. The own goal against Valencia just before the international break was the latest in a string of uncharacteristic mistakes.

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