Zidane leaves Real Madrid: Mourinho comparisons, better without Ronaldo and the return

By Sports Desk May 27, 2021

Zinedine Zidane and Real Madrid have made official what has long been rumoured – they are parting ways, again.

The Frenchman’s future at the Santiago Bernabeu was a hot topic for weeks, at times overshadowing Madrid's attempts to retain their league crown.

In the end, despite Los Blancos producing an 18-game unbeaten run in LaLiga as they surged towards the finishing line, Atletico Madrid did just enough to keep their noses in front in a title race that went down to the wire.

The focus for Madrid now turns to finding a replacement: What about club legend Raul? Or could the suddenly available Antonio Conte be tempted by a project in Spain?

And what next for Zidane? As so often is the case with sequels, the second episode was not quite able to live up to the standards of the original production. Still, as Opta data shows, he leaves with an impressive coaching resume across his spells in charge in the Spanish capital.

Better than Beenhakker, behind Benitez

First, the basic numbers: Zidane had 263 games in charge in all competitions across his two tenures in Madrid, winning 65.4 per cent of them.

He achieved a points-per-game ratio of 2.17, which seems impressive, right? Well, perhaps surprisingly, that average sits behind both Rafael Benitez (2.21) and Manuel Pellegrini (2.35), two coaches who did not last anywhere near as long in the job.

Indeed, Pellegrini's time in charge spanned just 48 games, despite winning him 36 of them. In his solitary LaLiga campaign, Los Blancos collected 96 points – good enough for only second place, behind Pep Guardiola's Barcelona. Despite such an impressive points record, the Chilean made way as Jose Mourinho arrived from Inter.

Zidane also finished runner-up in the 2020-21 campaign, unable to quite close the gap on Atleti down the stretch.

In comparison to the notable head coaches who reached a century of matches, both Mourinho (2.31) and Carlo Ancelotti (2.36) exceeded Zidane in terms of points per game. Leo Beenhakker – who won three successive titles in the late 1980s – however, managed 2.11 during his reign.


The reunion and a second LaLiga title

Zidane's second spell lowered his overall points-per-game average, as he won 68 out of 114 matches upon his return. That is a notable drop-off when compared to his time between January 2016 and the end of the 2017-18 season, when he rattled along at 2.29 points per outing.

His win percentage in LaLiga in his initial spell was a mighty impressive 70.8, yet Madrid still only finished top of the table once in that time, crowned champions at the end of the 2016-17 season when collecting 93 points, enough to be above a Barca squad coached by Luis Enrique in the final table.

However, since Zidane sensationally agreed to replace Santiago Solari in March 2019, Madrid have the best record in LaLiga.

That 87-game span produced 188 points, three more than rivals Barcelona managed - though both won the same number of games (56) - and it puts Madrid 12 points ahead of newly crowned champions Atleti.

Having set a ridiculously high bar in his initial stint, Zidane has not been able to match his previous successes in the Champions League either.

Madrid were already out of the 2018-19 competition when he came back to the job, stunningly beaten 4-1 at home by Ajax in the second leg of a last-16 tie. They fell in the same round a year later to Manchester City and, while able to get past Atalanta and Liverpool in the knockout stages in 2021, a 3-1 aggregate semi-final loss to Chelsea ended hopes of further European glory.


Life with and without Ronaldo

It helped Zidane first time around that he had a star-studded squad at his disposal, most of whom were in their prime. Plenty were still around for a reunion when he took over again, though one notable departure had left a sizeable gap in the squad.

Just like his head coach, Cristiano Ronaldo decided the time was right to leave Madrid after they had been crowned Champions League winners for a third successive year in 2018. A move to Juventus broke up the formidable 'BBC' triumvirate, the forward having prospered when playing alongside Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema.

The Portuguese superstar departed as the club's all-time leading scorer, with 112 of his Madrid goals coming while working under Zidane. That is the same number as he managed when Ancelotti was at the helm, while four behind his career tally with Alex Ferguson at Manchester United.

However, Ronaldo's most successful player-coach alliance in terms of scoring output was with Mourinho, when he managed 168 working alongside his compatriot. 

Perhaps surprisingly, Zidane's Madrid were actually better without the five-time Ballon d'Or winner during his initial reign, at least in terms of average goals for and win percentage.

When Ronaldo was involved, the head coach won 68.4 per cent of matches, his team scoring at a rate of 2.6 goals per game. However, without him, those figures actually climbed to 74.3 per cent and 2.8 goals for. Addition by subtraction perhaps, but Madrid's loss was certainly a gain for Juve when the superstar decided he wanted a new challenge in Turin.

Zidane, too, will now contemplate what is next in his coaching career. Considering his ties to Madrid, the possibility of a third stint should not be ruled out.

Related items

  • Nets win without Irving as James closes in on points record in Lakers loss Nets win without Irving as James closes in on points record in Lakers loss

    Cam Thomas starred off the bench as the depleted Brooklyn Nets came from behind to defeat the Washington Wizards 125-123 on Saturday.

    Already without Ben Simmons and talisman Kevin Durant, the Nets were dealt a further blow when Kyrie Irving was ruled out due to a calf problem.

    Irving's injury came just a day after news broke of his wish to leave the Nets, with the point guard having handed in a trade request.

    The former Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics star was not in attendance at the Barclays Center, though that decision was a joint one with the team's management.

    A bleak end to the week looked set to be compounded as the Warriors held a healthy 23-point lead, yet the Nets fought back partly thanks to Thomas' efforts.

    He scored a career-high, game-leading 44 points, while Edmond Sumner chipped in with 29 as the Wizards – who lost to the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday – became the first team in the past 25 seasons to throw away 20+ point leads on consecutive days.

    Kristaps Porzingis top scored for the Wizards with 38 points.

    James gets closer but Pelicans end losing streak

    LeBron James is now just 36 points away from breaking Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's long-standing NBA record, yet his efforts were not enough for the Los Angeles Lakers against the New Orleans Pelicans.

    James added 27 more points to his total on Saturday, though the Lakers lost 131-126 to a Pelicans team that had suffered 10 straight defeats.

    While Anthony Davis was the Lakers' standout performer with a double-double of 34 points and 14 rebounds, Brandon Ingram's 35-point haul led the Pelicans, who moved onto .500 for the season.

    Curry concern for Warriors

    Stephen Curry scored 21 points, added six rebounds and provided seven assists but hobbled out of the Golden State Warriors' 119-113 win over the Dallas Mavericks with a knee injury in the third quarter.

    Curry must now await results of an MRI scan, which is set to take place on Sunday, to determine the severity of the issue.

    Reigning NBA champions Golden State nevertheless got the job done without him in the final quarter, getting over the line against a Dallas side missing their star man Luka Doncic.

    Draymond Green's 17 points, nine rebounds and nine assists were crucial, with Spencer Dinwiddie's game-high 25 points not enough for the Mavs, who have lost seven in 11.

    Nuggets tie with Celtics

    The Boston Celtics lost for the fourth time in six games on Friday and the Denver Nuggets capitalised to tie level as joint-NBA leaders.

    Denver beat the Atlanta Hawks 128-108, with Nikola Jokic (14 points, 18 rebounds and 10 assists) claiming his 18th triple-double of the season while Jamal Murray turned on the style with his season-best tally of 41 points.

    The Nuggets are now tied with the Eastern Conference-leading Celtics on 37-16 for the season and have won 19 of their last 20 home games.

  • Rumour Has It: Bayern Munich looking to pry Fati from Barcelona Rumour Has It: Bayern Munich looking to pry Fati from Barcelona

    The future of Ansu Fati at Barcelona appears to be increasingly uncertain.

    Fati was a revelation when he first broke into the Barca first team, but has suffered several injury issues that have halted his momentum.

    Even when fit, Fati has struggled to get into Xavi's side this season, featuring in 30 games but only nine times from the start, with six goals and three assists to show for it.

    And reports are starting to emerge that vultures may be circling to offer the Spain international more regular football.

     

    TOP STORY – BAYERN LEAD THE WAY IN HUNT FOR ANSU FATI

    Mundo Deportivo reports that Bayern Munich are at the head of a queue of seven European clubs interested in making a move for Fati at the end of the season.

    It is also mentioned that four of the seven potential suitors come from the big-spending Premier League, though only Arsenal and Tottenham are named.

    The player only signed a new deal in 2021 that committed him to Barca until 2027, with a release clause of €1billion, but the continued absence of Fati in the starting XI even after Ousmane Dembele's latest injury is apparently a concern to the player's agent, Jorge Mendes.

    ROUND-UP

    Barca, Atletico Madrid and Milan are all looking at a move for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang at the end of the campaign after Chelsea surprisingly left the striker out of their Champions League squad, according to the Mail.

    Chelsea are poised to join Manchester United in targeting Napoli hitman Victor Osimhen as the Blues look to solve their goalscoring problems, report the Mirror.

    Real Madrid turned down the chance to sign Joao Cancelo on loan from Manchester City before he went to Bayern on transfer deadline day, according to Fabrizio Romano.

    – The Mail has pointed to Tottenham's good relations with Atletico as reason for their optimism about signing Jan Oblak and Yannick Carrasco at the end of the season.

    – The Mirror reports that Manchester United will look to move on six players at the end of the season, including Harry Maguire, Scott McTominay, Anthony Martial and Donny van de Beek.

  • Moyes: Rice would blow British transfer record out of the water Moyes: Rice would blow British transfer record out of the water

    Declan Rice will set a British record fee if he leaves West Ham at the end of the season, David Moyes believes.

    The Hammers captain has long been linked with a move across London to Chelsea, while Arsenal have reportedly made the England international their prime target ahead of next season.

    Chelsea recently set a new British transfer record with the deadline day captain of Enzo Fernandez, splashing a reported £107million on the Argentina World Cup winner, but Moyes does not expect that record to stand for long.

    In fact, he believes a deal for Rice would not only surpass that figure but would "blow it out of the water".

    "Undoubtedly Declan is going to be a top player. He'll be a British transfer record if he ever leaves West Ham," he told the BBC following West Ham's 1-1 draw against Newcastle United.

    "There's a lot of talk about it and when you see what's going about for the prices, I think Dec will be blowing that out of the water, that's for sure, when it comes around."

    Asked whether he felt an exit for Rice was inevitable, Moyes added: "I hope it's not. I hope he sees his time here."

    Rice has 18 months remaining on his contract at the London Stadium, meaning a sale would be required next season to avoid losing him on a free transfer in 2024.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.