Godin close to leave Inter08 April 2020 / Rui Sousa
The defender failed to adapt to Conte's tactical system and could leave in the next transfer window.
Zinedine Zidane seems to be building another great version of Real Madrid. After returning to the Spanish club after his successful first stage, the French coach's mission was not simple, since the white team was in crisis and had closed a disappointing season without titles. But today the team is reliable and competitive after a campaign start with many doubts, and once again Zidane has hit the nail to keep the team at the head of La Liga and close to their qualification to the knockout rounds of the Champions League.
Eight months have passed since Zidane began his second stage at Real Madrid, and although it has cost him more than in his first experience in 2016, the merengue club seems to have definitely left behind the bad moments that were lived under the command of Julen Lopetegui and Santiago Solari. Clearly the message of the French coach is reaching his players and several of his decisions are key in the recovery of his team. If in 2016 it was Casemiro's incursion that changed the team that would then win three European Cups in a row, now it has been the bet for two secondary actors such as Fede Valverde and Rodrygo that has revitalized the white team.
It seemed that Madrid was hitting the bottom after the defeat in Mallorca, but since then there has been a change in the attitude to face the matches, and the players are now committed and supportive. Valverde is the perfect example of the effort and help to his teammates, and we must bear in mind that the Uruguayan player was within the plan B of Madrid at the beginning of the season, but now he is one of the key pieces of a team that has found regularity. And it was Zidane who has opted for the young South American ahead of Modric or Kroos, and this time it was not precisely because of the injuries, but because of the conviction of a coach who saw that the team needed vigor in the midfield. There was much talk about the possible arrival of Paul Pogba last summer for the same reason, but as the Frenchman never arrived, Zidane turned to a Valverde who on Saturday in the triumph against Real Sociedad was greeted on foot by the whole Santiago Bernabéu Stadium.
And if Valverde's role is still fundamental, something similar has happened with Rodrygo, although perhaps without the same impact. With Benzema and Hazard with an almost assured position in Madrid’s forward line, the third place of the trident had many renowned candidates, although it has been the young Brazilian, who just arrived this season and was inscribed with the second team, who has advanced Vinícius, Lucas, Isco, James and Bale and has earned a place in the lineups. Zidane has clearly posed for the 18-year-old attacker to play on the right, and the result is being very positive. Rodrygo not only provides goals and assists as expected of a striker, but also runs 12 kilometers per game to collaborate in defense, showing a sacrifice that few expected.
The success of this Madrid also lies in the defense, much discussed at other times. After a bad start to the course, the white team now boasts of having one of the best defenses in the championship. They have only conceded 10 goals in La Liga after 13 games played and Courtois has already broken the record of Keylor Navas at Real Madrid’s goal. Lines closer together, intense pressure after losing the ball and more aggressiveness are some of the mechanisms that this Real Madrid begins to have. The aforementioned Valverde and a Casemiro that never rests are also key for Zidane in this aspect.
The Hazard-Benzema connection is another factor that is causing Real Madrid to take off. The Belgian is at his best level sponsored by Zidane, while the Frenchman continues at the same high level he has shown since the departure of Cristiano. From what this duo can do will largely depend what happens with this Real Madrid when the decisive moments of the season arrive, but every day they show a better understanding. Maybe Zidane just needs to start giving more prominence to less common players, a group made up of men like Isco, Lucas, James, Bale, Vinícius, Mendy, Jovic or Militao as they will be very necessary throughout the campaign. If he succeeds, added to the level of the starters, the options of Real Madrid to achieve some success this season will be much closer, something that seemed very distant a couple of months ago.
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