Why Real Madrid have struggled under Zinedine Zidane this season?

Zinedine Zidane, Real Madrid Manager, to figure out the extraordinary situation involving Gareth Bale

Real Madrid have started the season in poor form and manager Zinedine Zidane is under immense pressure to turn it around.

The Frenchman helped Real Madrid win the La Liga title last season and he was expected to challenge for the Champions League and defend the domestic crown this year.

Instead, Real Madrid are fourth in the League table after 10 matches having won just five games. In the Champions League, they are third in their group behind the likes of Borussia Monchengladbach and Shakhtar Donetsk.

It is evident that Zidane will have to find a solution and get his team firing on all cylinders once again if he wants to stay on the job.

Here at Anytime Football, we look at some of the main reasons why the Frenchman has struggled to get the best out of his team this season.

Lack of transfers

Real Madrid have barely signed any players this season.

The squad needed freshening up in the summer but then return of Martin Odegaard and Alvaro Odriozola from their loan spells are the only new additions to Zidane’s side this season.

Although they have an impressive squad at their disposal that has managed to win every trophy at the club level, Real Madrid should have brought in more competition for places in order to motivate the first-team stars to raise their performance levels.

Experimental tactics

Real Madrid have experimented a lot with tactics so far this season and that has not allowed the players to settle into a rhythm.

Zidane has used three different formations in ten La Liga matches so far. The Frenchman has used the 4-3-3 formation five times, the 4-2-3-1 formation three times, and the 4-3-1-2 formation twice.

Real Madrid need continuity in terms of tactics in order to let their players flourish.

It has been a similar case in the Champions League as well. Real Madrid have used the 4-3-3 formation three times and the 4-2-3-1 formation twice in five Champions League games so far.

Poor decisions with regards to sales

Zidane has allowed some quality young players to leave the club in recent years and that has cost him dearly.

The likes of Marcos Llorente, Sergio Reguilon and Achraf Hakimi were allowed to leave the club especially when all three players could have been very useful for Real Madrid this season.

Hakimi and Reguilon have shown that they would have improved Real Madrid in the full-back areas if they had stayed.

Both players have done well for Tottenham and Inter Milan since they departed from Real Madrid.

Marcos Llorente has proven to be a quality player for Atletico Madrid, and his ability to deliver in multiple positions would have made him a valuable asset for Real Madrid.

Over-reliance on Karim Benzema

Real Madrid should have signed a top-class goal scorer after the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo. Instead, they chose to rely on Karim Benzema to step into the Portuguese international’s shoes and deliver consistently.

The French striker has been in impressive form since Ronaldo’s exit, but he is the only reliable goalscorer at the club, and Real Madrid have struggled without him at times.

Reluctance to move on from declining players

The likes of Marcelo are clearly on the decline, and Zidane should have moved on from him at the start of the season.

Instead, the Frenchman is overly reliant on the Brazilian to perform every week when there is plenty of evidence to suggest that he is past his peak.

Someone like Reguilon, who was let go earlier in the summer, would have been a better alternative.

Similarly, big-money signing Eden Hazard has been a massive failure so far, but Zidane has stuck with the Belgian whenever he has been fit. 

Lack of tactical evolution

Finally, Zidane lacks the tactical acumen to switch things around to get the best out of his players this season.

Most of his star players are in their 30s, and they are no longer the spring chickens they used to be.

The Real Madrid manager needs to find a system that can get the best out of Marcelo, Ramos, Kroos and Modric without driving them to exhaustion.