Real Madrid ‘see end of Zinedine Zidane era’, says Guillem Balague

Real Madrid have won the Copa del Rey 19 times, but have not won the title in seven years and only twice since 1993.

Real Madrid are seeing the end of the Zinedine Zidane era but do not want to replace him as coach until the summer, says Spanish football expert Guillem Baliga.

The Spanish champions were humiliatingly eliminated in Wednesday’s Copa del Rey against third division club Alcoyano.

The AS newspaper called it one of the most embarrassing pages in Real’s history.

Their idea is to make a big decision after the season, Baliga said.

Zidane has come back from the brink several times, including this season, but the team seems to be hitting a wall.

The 2-1 defeat to Alcoyano, who played the last ten minutes of extra time on ten men, was Real’s latest worrying result.

Zidane returned last season and led the team to its first league title in three years. He had already led them to three consecutive Champions League triumphs, one league title, two Club World Cups and two UEFA Super Cups in his first tenure.

But they are four points behind leaders Atletico Madrid, who have two games in hand this season and look unconvincing in the Champions League group stage.

He is a club legend and they will wait and see how he plays – they don’t want to rush him because that is not a guarantee, Baliga added.

But the disappointment is not just in the results, even if they are not good. They lost at home to Cadiz and Shakhtar Donetsk, 4-1 at Valencia, Alaves, Shakhtar and Athletic Bilbao in the semi-finals of the Super Cup and now against Alcoyano.

These results are bad, but the disappointment is not just that.

There are two things that make the real hierarchy a little awkward.

They saw him give no instructions at the end of the 90 minutes against Alcoyano and none in between. This is sort of an endorsement of the lack of education that players generally receive, as their football is largely based on the quality of the players.

The other thing is that with the quality of Toni Kroos, Casemiro, Luka Modric and Karim Benzema, you can run for a while, but the plan was to recycle the team and bring in young players – players like Dani Ceballos, Vinicius Junior, Rodrigo, Araf Hakimi, Brahim Diaz, Sergio Reguillon, Luka Jovic and Martin Odegaard – and he didn’t do that at all.

These guys are either sold out or they want out. There are also players like Mariano Diaz, Federico Valverde, Alvaro Odriozola and Eder Militao – these young players should have been in the starting lineup more often, but they seem to be used more for less important games lately. It’s frustration.

There’s a big gap between successful players and new players, and he doesn’t seem to be making the transition.

The club is determined to want nothing more than to see the end of an era during the season.

AS also described the recent defeat as a nightmare, while another Spanish newspaper, Marca, said it would be a miracle if he was saved.

Zidane himself took full responsibility for the defeat.

Whatever happens, it will happen, he said. I’m gonna take responsibility and we’re gonna keep working. We’re not going crazy.

I think the players are with me, but you’ll have to ask them. We have had some good results this season. We need to focus on what we can do.

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