Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane seems to be living on a borrowed time at the Bernabeau, as it has been rumored that the French manager has been handed an ultimatum for over his future at the club.
The journey of every football coach is like a two-edged sword that goes to war, sometimes it comes back triumphant, sometimes it fails woefully on the battlefield.
In this sense, the duty of a manager is to motivate his players and set them up tactically in other to deliver success. When he fails in his primary duties he faces the consequences and that’s exactly the situation Zinedine Zidane is in right now.
Madrid came back from a goal down to came out triumphant away at Huesca, to calm the pressure that is building on at Real Madrid. The win against Huesca somewhat put an end to their woeful performances in their last five matches in the league.
While the chances of winning a silverware at Real Madrid went begging with their loss to Bilbao in the Super Cup and third-tier side Alcoyano in the Copa Del Rey, plus Diego Simeone led side Atletico Madrid not looking like a team that wants to relinquish their first position on the table.
With Real Madrid in the third position this season, trailing Atletico Madrid with seven-point with fewer games played and leveled with the Blaugrana on the same point, having won the La Liga last season it doesn’t seem Los Merengues are the odd favorite to win the league with their unconvincing performances and form.
With the unstable situation, Los Blancos are in, and for who the club President is, the chances of Real winning a silverware looks slimmer in the league and perhaps in the Champions League.
Florentino Perez might be considering a change for a new manager, who could bring back to the team the fear factor and the winning mentality associated with Los Merengues.
Four potential candidates who could replace Zidane at Real Madrid
- Julian Nagelsmann – (RB Leipzig’s Manager)
Nagelsmann is undoubtedly the hottest manager in Europe’s top-flight leagues right now. The 33-year-old German leads an illustrious list of potential managers that could replace Zidane as Los Merengues’ next manager.
Nagelsman has earned plenty of plaudits for his swashbuckling, expansive, and attacking style of football right from Hoffenheim and now with RB Leipzig.
His tactical know-how and the understanding of the game aren’t just coming to the limelight now, it has been unfolding right from his days at the Rhein-Necker Arena, Hoffenheim.
Nagelsmann is so good that he took Leipzig’s side to the semi-finals of the Champions League last season, with a scintillating style of football that further pushed him up the ladder as one the finest manager around.
According to report, the German gaffer has been contacted in the past to take the job, but he turned down Los Blancos claiming the job came rather too early for him in his career. As it stands if the unconvincing performances from Zidane and his boys continue, the Real Madrid hierarchy might be tempted to look towards the German yet again.
Although the 33-year-old is under contract at RB Leipzig until June 2023, and should the Bundesliga hierarchy consider the interest of Real Madrid in their number one price asset we might be seeing him heading to the Santiago Bernabeu with his expansive and attacking style of football.
- Raul Gonzalez – (Real Madrid’s Castilla Manager)
Another potential manager for the managerial job of Los Blancos is no one other than Real Madrid’s former striker and legend Raul.
Like Zizuo, his managerial trajectory has been in semblance with that of the Frenchman who started honing his managerial skill with the Castilla before he got arguably the biggest job in world football.
As Los Blancos youth coach, Raul has shown he could deliver on the biggest stage by leading the team to a triumphant outing in the UEFA Youth League. As a matter of fact, with such success, the former striker has been heavily linked with the first-team job.
Raul may not have a similar profile with Zidane in terms of trophies won or even attain the kind of level some of the hottest managers are now, however, the likes of Pep Guardiola, Diego Simeone, and Zizuo were given an opportunity like this to prove their worth early in their managerial career.
Putting the Real Madrid team in the hands of a manager with no top-flight experience could be a huge risk to take, but big things start with a step.
- Massimilano Allegri – (Unattached)
To still see the six-time Seria A winner without a job still baffles the mind really. The former Milan and Juventus manager has been without a job since leaving the Old Lady in 2019, despite being one of Italy’s finest gaffer with impeccable managerial experience.
Allegri won five consecutive Seria A titles during his reign with Juventus, and with the Real Madrid hierarchy attention shifting to be more dominant in the league, the Italian manager might be the suitable candidate for the Bernabeu side.
Considering how he’s been able to prove that he could consistently deliver success in the league, could prove to be a selling point should he be considered by Florentino Perez.
As brilliant as Allegri is in terms of achieving success in the league, sadly his European struggles could be a stumbling block for a move to Real Madrid.
However, Allegri knows the pressure of managing arguably the biggest club in the world. With Juventus, he’s been able to achieve success by dominating the Italian league and also took the Old Lady to Champions League final but failed to win it, but then with such experiences in European football, it shows he’s got the pedigree and tactical know-how to push Los Merengues to a new level of success.
- Guti Hernandez – (Unattached)
The popular saying in world football that not all great footballers become a great manager might turn the other way for the former Real Madrid midfielder.
Guti may not have garnered enough top-flight experience as a manager, however, he’s been able to hone his managerial skill with Turkish side Besiktas as an assistant manager, Real Madrid’s youth team, and Almeria.
He is also currently without a job having been sacked at Almeria due to poor performance in the league. Should the Real Madrid President consider him, he might prove valuable just like Zidane despite been an inexperienced manager in his first stint before he went on to achieve unbelievable success.
While Guti is one of Real Madrid’s homegrown players with abundant knowledge of the game, that still doesn’t guarantee Los Blanco’s instant success if appointed. Although like Zidane, he would be accorded instant respect from the squad been their legend who knows the club in and out.
Based on the current situation of the team, Florentino Perez might decide to test yet another one of his old players as manager. Going all out to entrust the Real Madrid team to Guti might look risky, even so, it’s could turn out to be the right decision or a bad one in the end.
Apparently, no one knows how things would pan out between Real Madrid’s board and Zidane comes to the end of the season or perhaps before.
Nevertheless, with Madrid still in the race for the Champions League title and a slim chance of still upstaging in-form Atletico Madrid on the league table and win the league could save Zidane’s jobb
Should he fail in both, then Zidane’s days at Real Madrid are numbered with each passing day.
3 Premier League Flops Who Made It Big Elsewhere
The English Premier League has welcomed some of the best players in the history of football. Players from different continents have made a huge impact on the league with impressive performances. There are others who failed to impress and can be termed as flops.
The League is quite unique from other European leagues. It is more competitive, fierce, physically challenging in nature. Needless to say, a player who isn’t mentally and physically geared up for this will stumble under the pressure.
Established stars can fall by the wayside with their former successes and triumphs becoming nothing more than a footnote in the EPL. Impressively, some of these players put in impressive performances when they moved to other leagues.
3 Premier League Flops Who Made It Big In Other Leagues
Following the impending sale of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid, Tottenham bought several players, one of the players they bought was Paulinho.
Paulinho was signed from Corinthians in Brazil where he helped them win the Copa Libertadores, Brasileirao, and the FIFA Club World Cup.
They defeated Chelsea in the latter to lift the trophy. Importantly, he had just won the FIFA Confederations Cup with Brazil and was voted as the third-best player at the tournament.
He joined Tottenham as the club’s record signing in 2013, so a lot was expected of him. However, his performance was not as impressive as the club had envisaged. He was later sold to Guangzhou Evergrande in China at a loss.
The Brazilian’s transfer to the Chinese league resulted in a change of fortunes, as helped the club claim the Chinese league and the AFC Champions League title in his first season.
In the second, he was voted into the Chinese League team of the year in recognition of his performance. Also, he won the league, FA Cup, and Super Cup.
Although critics downplayed his performance, citing the standard of the Chinese league compared to the English league, Paulinho impressed in Spain too following a €40 million move to Barcelona.
Paulinho helped the club claim the league and the Copa del Rey trophy. His performance in his only season with Barcelona impressed Ronaldinho who said: “He really stood out.”
- Iago Aspas
Most Premier League fan remembers Aspas only as a Liverpool flop with the number 9 jersey. Aspas moved from boyhood club Celta Vigo to Liverpool for a deal estimated to be around £7.7 m, with Liverpool hoping to have unearthed a gem. However, that gem turns dregs, failing to score in any of his 14 league appearances.
After just one season, Liverpool decided that they have seen enough so they sent him on a season-long loan to Sevilla with an obligation to buy. In his season-long loan at the club, he was the joint top scorer in the Copa del Rey alongside Neymar with 7 goals and won the UEFA Europa League.
At the end of his season-long loan at Sevilla, the club signed him from Liverpool but sold him to Celta Vigo in the same transfer window. In every of his first 5 seasons at Celta Vigo, he scored in double digits.
In fact, in three of the 5 seasons, he won the Zarra Trophy awarded to the Spanish player with the most league goals in a season. As of December 2020, Aspas had won La Liga player of the month four times.
- Diego Forlan
Perhaps, the most notable and interesting English Premier League flop who became a star in another League. He was not just impressive in another league; he was extraordinary with his National team Uruguay.
Sir Alex Ferguson signed Forlan in 2001 following the attacker’s impressive form at Independiente in Argentina. In his first season in England, Forlan made 18 appearances but failed to score a single goal. The two seasons after were not impressive either, hence his transfer to Villarreal.
Impressively, Forlan scored 25 league goals in his first season with Villarreal and won the league’s top scorers award (2004/05). Also, he was awarded the European Golden Shoe award alongside Thierry Henry the same year. He left the club two seasons later for Atletico with 59 goals scored in 128 matches.
In his second season with Atletico Madrid (2008/09), Forlan beat Samuel Eto’o to the Spanish league’s top scorer’s award. He scored 32 league goals in 33 league appearances that season which earned him the Pichichi trophy. Again, he won the European Golden Shoe but this time it was not shared with anyone.
The next season (2009/10), Forlan played a key role as Atletico won the Europa League. He scored six times in the tournament, including two in the 2-1 win over Fulham in the final. He was voted as the man of the match in the final.
With his national team, he was just as impressive; he scored the most goals at the 2010 FIFA World Cup alongside Thomas Muller, Wesley Sneijder, and David Villa.
Furthermore, he was voted into the FIFA World Cup dream team and won the Golden Ball and goal of the tournament title. By the time he retired, he was Uruguay’s highest goal scorer in history, a record which has since been broken by Luis Suarez.
Forlan eventually became so good that some Football fans think he is the caliber of player that could have won the Ballon d’Or.
There are several reasons why players struggle when they change clubs, especially to other countries. Culture, language, teammates, family are some factors that can affect their performances.
These 3 cases show that a player may fail to perform in one league but go on to become a star in another league.
Top 15 Highest Paid Players In Ligue 1
Ligue 1 no doubt harbors quite a number of talented players, as such it’s quite understandable for those considered to be world-class players among them to cash out hugely on what they earn at the end of the month.
As of late, the players’ salaries have given indications of solid development, on account of the tremendous income pouring into the game. The fierce rivalry between the country’s top football clubs has brought the nature of the competition higher than ever. The league has more than its own fair share of highly paid players.
Here is a rundown of the top 15 highest-paid players in the Ligue 1
- Neymar Jr – (Paris Saint Germain, – €3.06 Per Month )
Behind Ronaldo and Messi, the Brazilian forward is regarded as the third-best player in world football since moving from Santos to Barcelona in 2013 for a deal reported worth €86.2million.
After apparently growing and widening his status as a footballer with his achievement on and off the pitch, it was evident that the former Puskas Award winner would go on to attract top elite clubs.
With the Parisian club brimming with a lot of cash to flex muscles with high spending clubs, it was just a matter of time before Neymar would join them. Fast forward to 2017, the Selecao captain signed for PSG for a world record transfer fee worth €222million, and since then he’s been an important figure of both the club and their project.
Amidst transfer rumors of him returning to his old home Barcelona, plus the fact that the Parisian are also ready to offer him a new deal that would tie him down with the French side for at least another three seasons.
- Kylian Mbappe – (Paris Saint Germain, € 1.91m Per Month)
As a World Cup winner and one of the best prospects in world football, it’s quite understandable for Mbappe to be among the highest-paid players in Ligue 1 and Paris Saint Germain. The 2018 World Cup winner burst into the scene as a young player for Monaco, making his professional debut in 2015 at the age of 15.
The Frenchman signed for the Parisian club in 2017 on loan, which was later made permanent in 2018. He has shown to be a great prospect for both the club and their project in dominating the Ligue 1 and also flex muscles with the top clubs in Europe.
His permanent transfer to Paris Saint Germain is reported to be worth €180million, making him both the second most expensive player and most expensive teenager. Since joining the Ligue 1 Champions permanently, the 22-year-old has scored over 120 goals for the Parisian club.
However, amidst the rumor of Real Madrid prepping up to break the bank in their quest to bring him down to the Bernabeu, the World Cup winner is still actively the second biggest earner in the league and of course Paris Saint Germain.
- Correa Marquinhos & Marco Verratti – (Paris Saint Germain, €1.2m Per Month)
Since the departure of top players such as Edinson Cavani, Zlatan, and recently Thiago Silva, Marquinhos’s status has risen from being a mere squad player in the dressing room into a leader, captain, and one of the best gladiator of the club.
As a 19-year-old teenager, the Brazilian was signed in 2013 on a five-year deal by Paris Saint Germain from AS Roma for a fee of around €31.4million. And as reported by BBC Sport, the deal was said to be the highest transfer fee for a teenager then, while Sky also reports it to be the then fifth highest transfer.
The current form of the Brazilian makes him rank as one of Europe’s most valuable players, most especially as a player who is currently plying his trade with the best team in France.
According to the transfer market rating, Marquinhos market value currently stands at €70million, as such with his years of experience and playing over 313 matches for the Parisian, it’s no surprise that the club captain takes home €1.2m per month tied with the Italian on the same amount.
As for the Italian, he’s also been a very instrumental player for the team since joining the club nine years ago. There have always been rumors concerning his future, either joining Barcelona or go back to Italy, but as it stands his current contract with Paris Saint Germain would expire in 2024.
- Angel Di Maria – (Paris Saint Germain, €1.1m Per Month)
Since joining the Parisian for €63million after a disappointing stint with Manchester United in 2015, the Argentine winger has continued to prove to the world that he’s still one of the best players in football since leaving Real Madrid.
Di Maria isn’t just rank among the highest earner for doing nothing, he earns his pay through his brilliant performances over the years since joining them, accumulating a total of 251 appearances scoring over 88 goals and 104 assists.
The former Real Madrid winger may not stay in the Ligue 1 with Paris Saint Germain for three years or more, as he’s already moving close to the end of his career. However, with his deal still running that makes him the fourth-highest earner in the league.
- Keylor Navas – (Paris Saint Germain, €1m Per Month)
When Navas joined Madrid from Levante in the summer of 2014, no one ever thought he’s going to achieve quite a number of success with Los Blancos based on where he was coming from and his antecedent as a goalkeeper.
After a successful stint with Los Merengues, the imminent arrival of Thibaut Courtois means the Costa Rican goalkeeper days at Real Madrid are numbered.
With his achievement at Real Madrid, it was evident that the Costa Rican won’t find it hard to get good European suitor to come by, as such Paris Saint Germain came calling for his services in 2019 having been told he won’t be Real Madrid number one going forward into the new season.
Following Navas’s move to the French capital, it means his salary would be on the high side based on his achievement and reputation as a Champions League winner with arguably the biggest club in Europe.
As a Paris Saint Germain player, he earns €1m per month, making the Costa Rican one of the highest-paid players in Ligue 1
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- Mauro Icardi – (Paris Saint Germain, €800,000 Per Month)
The imminent departure of El Matador when Icardi joined Paris Saint Germain on loan means the responsibility of goalscoring would be on the shoulder of the Argentine. The former Inter Milan forward made his loan permanent with the PSG following a strong start in Paris.
The Argentine and controversy certainly go hand in hand based on his antecedent with his previous clubs. Everywhere he goes he has always shown he could lead the line perfectly, and since he joined the Parisian permanently no report of controversy has been recorded concerning the former Nerazzurri captain.
Icardi may not be the poster boy of PSG just like his days at Inter, that doesn’t make him less of a player in the dressing room among other star players like Neymar and Mbappe who are no doubt the face of the club.
- Leandro Paredes – (Paris Saint Germain, €750,000 Per Month)
Juan Bernat – (Paris Saint Germain, €700,000 Per Month)
Presnel Kimpembe – (Paris Saint Germain, €670,000 Per Month)
Ander Herrera – (Paris Saint Germain, €650,000 Per Month)
Wissam Ben Yedder – (Monaco, €650,000 Per Month)
Cesc Fabregas – (Monaco, €600,000 Per Month)
Julian Draxler – (Paris Saint Germain, €600,000 Per Month)
Idrissa Guaye – (Paris Saint Germain, €500,000 Per Month)