Things can move quickly at a club like Real Madrid.
Had they won at Mallorca over the weekend and if they beat Galatasaray in the Champions League on Tuesday night, then things will look relatively peachy: they would be top of La Liga and on track for qualification in Europe.
But they lost to Mallorca and if things go against them in Istanbul then they’re in real danger of not making it out of their Champions League group for the first time ever. Indeed, the last time they fell at the first stage of Europe’s top competition was in 1962, when Anderlecht dumped them out of the European Cup.
All of which means that Zinedine Zidane’s position as Real head coach could well be precarious, and Graham Hunter joined us on the Totally Football League Show this week to tell us why.
“You’ve watched great clubs for long enough to know that the reality is an amorphous concept,” he said. “Things will change. Florentino Perez is as Machiavellian as any club president.
“They were naive against Mallorca, Zidane rested too many. There will be a split debate about whether Eden Hazard should have been allowed to attend the birth of his fourth child – I think any normal person would say yes, the hard-liners would say “no, he should’ve been playing.”
“Had they won against Mallorca they would still have been top of the league and if they beat Galatasaray then they’re back on target in Europe.
“But if they lose [on Tuesday], it’s not now dignity we’re talking about, it’s that they might not qualify from the Champions League group. Now, that’s a horror story… and yes – Zidane would be in peril.”
So who would come in next?
“I don’t think Max Allegri would take the job, I think it would be a retrograde step to appoint Jose Mourinho, but Perez is obsessed by Mourinho. Before Zidane got the job for the first time, Mourinho was the first call. Before Zidane came back this time Mourinho was contacted too.
“There are two big candidates coming down the line who aren’t quite ready yet: one of them is Xabi Alonso, currently coaching the Real Sociedad B team, and the other is Raul, who’s coaching the Real Madrid B team.
“If perchance, either now or at the end of the season, Zidane is cut off by his close confidant and his business ally Perez, then those are the two candidates are the ones Madrid will be looking at. Right now, it will be too early, but at the end of the season…maybe just about right.
“In my opinion, Zidane should be given until the end of the season but Florentino Perez has the right to think differently to me and, sadly, he often does.”
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