Compared to Ronaldo and beating David Beckham’s record on his debut, Rodrygo has Real Madrid excited for the future

27 Sep

Real Madrid fans have known the name Rodrygo Silva de Goes for over a year now, but it took only a minute and a half of his time in the club’s shirt to ensure they will remember his face for a very long time.

Just 80 seconds after entering the field of play as a substitute for his official debut against Osasuna, the Brazilian showed off a first touch that any seasoned pro would kill for, stopping a long cross-field ball like it was a feather and taking it in his stride.

Rodrygo celebrates scoring against Osasuna for Real Madrid
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That would have been enough to impress, but what followed made a seismic impact. Darting inside, he feinted to fool an opponent and open a brief window of opportunity, then snapped off a sharp shot in the milliseconds necessary for the ball to end up in the back of the net before the space closed.

Only 95 seconds after stepping onto the pitch the forward had scored, breaking David Beckham’s record from 2003 to become the fastest scoring Real Madrid debutante in LaLiga.

Expectation has murmured in the background since Madrid first completed a €40million deal to sign the teenager in 2018, but his impact against Osasuna was eye-catching even by the Santiago Bernabéu’s heady standards.

It ensured the full hype machine kicked into gear, and in the days since, the youngster has already had to play down comparisons to his legendary compatriot Ronaldo.

Rodrygo’s moment has been some time in the making: after first sealing his signature Madrid chose to leave him at Santos for another year in order to continue his development.

His arrival on the LaLiga stage can in some way be charted back to more than a decade ago, when Los Blancos narrowly missed out on signing a promising Santos teenager by the name of Neymar Jr. That Brazilian would ultimately end up bringing the treble home to the Camp Nou, rather than the Bernabéu, and Florentino Pérez has never been able to let it go.

Real Madrid wonderkid Rodrygo battles for the ball
Getty Images - Getty

Like Vinicius Júnior, Rodrygo is part of the young generation of post-Neymar Brazilians inspired by the PSG man’s flair on the ball, and determined to follow in his footsteps with elite level success in Europe.

Unlike Vinicius who lacks end product however, Madrid’s scouts were convinced he is a natural finisher who will one day become a regular goalscorer, and on this week’s evidence, their eyes were sound.

Zinedine Zidane knows goalscoring talent when he sees it, and it is telling that the 18-year-old has taken little time to win the new coach over.

As early as his unofficial debut for Madrid in pre-season against Bayern Munich, Zidane saw enough quality to give the newcomer the responsibility of playing through the middle: “I usually play on the wing but he told me I have the ability to play in the centre”.

Real Madrid star celebrate with boy wonder Rodrygo after his goal
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The manager’s faith was repaid instantly with an excellent free-kick goal from his student, and in the short time since the 2019/20 season began, Rodrygo has already managed to leapfrog Mariano in the Frenchman’s pecking order. Earlier this month he was included in the matchday squad for the Champions League trip to PSG at the experienced Spaniard’s expense.

Zidane is often portrayed as a coach who is ambivalent to the task of improving younger squad members, yet he is said to have taken Rodrygo under his wing, instructing him on how he should position his body to receive the ball and having deep conversations with him in training sessions.

Madrid have been encouraged by player’s excellent, work-hungry attitude, and that will surely have helped his cause. Along with taking Spanish classes while he was still in Brazil to ensure as smooth a transition as possible, he has also been studying videos to deepen his understanding of attacking movements in LaLiga.

Some have compared Rodrygo to Brazilian legend Ronaldo
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There is past evidence to inspire confidence in the teen’s future, too. Some of the most important players in Madrid’s recent golden era were young signings bought directly from Brazil: Marcelo (signed from Fluminense in 2006 at the age of 18) and Casemiro (signed from Sao Paulo in 2013 at 20) were both vital to Zidane’s three Champions League trophies on the bounce.

Arriving without a Neymar-esque crew in tow, and accompanied by a humble dad who once made it to the second tier as a right-back in Brazil, Rodrygo is said to have the right kind of people around him to facilitate his development.

Encouraging too is his attitude to dropping back down to B team Castilla in the lower leagues even after making the front pages following his strike v Osasuna.

Can Rodrygo build on his impressive start to life at Real Madrid?
Getty Images - Getty

“The boss knows what he’s doing and he’s been talking to me every day to tell me to keep working hard. I’m at Real Madrid and I don’t care whether I play for Castilla under Raúl, or for the first team,” he underlined.

With that kind of mentality, the long path to the top will be an easier one to traverse for the talent.

Barcelona fined just £266 over ‘tapping up’ of Antoine Griezmann after Atletico Madrid complaint… but they may appeal decision

26 Sep

Barcelona have been fined €300 (£266) by the Spanish football federation (RFEF) over irregularities relating to the transfer of Antoine Griezmann.

Atletico Madrid submitted an official complaint over their LaLiga rivals’ conduct after they signed Griezmann from them in the summer.

Griezmann has scored three goals in six appearances for Barcelona this season
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The Spanish champions signed the 28-year-old in July, after the forward’s buyout clause had dropped from €200m (£179m) to €120m (£107million).

Atletico accused their rivals and Griezmann of showing ‘disrespect’ towards the club with their actions and insisted they should receive an extra €80m, as Barcelona had begun talks with the player in March, before his release clause dropped.

RFEF have now determined that Barcelona were guilty of a “minor infringement” of article 126 of their disciplinary code, but have fined the club a paltry €300.

Griezmann has been absolved of any wrongdoing by the federation.


Barcelona may need a change of coach, but will their complacency put the wrong man in the job?


“This committee is aware that the payment of €300, beyond it’s purely symbolic gesture, will not contribute to the club being punished in this case and probably other clubs that may be in this situation in the future, to fit their conduct within the required rules,” a statement from the RFEF read.

“It is important to highlight that the contacts between FC Barcelona occurred once the player had manifested his intention to leave Atletico Madrid.”

Barcelona and Atletico have yet to offer any comment on the verdict but it is being reported that Barca may appeal the decision.

Alphonse Areola stuns on Real Madrid debut with incredible one-handed catch as Los Blancos move top of LaLiga

26 Sep

Real Madrid moved top of LaLiga with a 2-0 defeat of Osasuna at the Bernabeu which made it back-to-back wins for the first time this season.

Brazilian youngsters Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo scored in either half to secure the win, with the latter marking his first appearance for the Spanish club with a debut goal.

Alphonse Areola also made his Los Blancos debut with Thibaut Courtois rested ahead of Saturday evening’s Madrid derby, and he caught the eye with a commanding performance.

Areola joined Real Madrid on loan from Paris Saint-Germain earlier this year
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Though he didn’t actually have to make a save, with Osasuna failing to record a single shot on target, Areola made a stunning one-handed catch that emulated some of the best catches in NFL history.

Luka Jovic continues to wait for his first Real Madrid goal and was disappointed when a possible maiden strike was ruled out for offside after a VAR review.

Zinedine Zidane fielded something of a second-string line-up with Real visiting Atletico’s Wanda Metropolitano home in just two days, with Dani Carvajal, Raphael Varane, Karim Benzema and Eden Hazard all on the bench.

And while that quartet are all expected to return to the starting XI on Saturday evening, many fans suggested Areola deserves to keep his place in goal ahead of Courtois, who has struggled for form this season.

Alphonse Areola stuns on Real Madrid debut with incredible one-handed catch as Los Blancos move top of LaLiga

26 Sep

Real Madrid moved top of LaLiga with a 2-0 defeat of Osasuna at the Bernabeu which made it back-to-back wins for the first time this season.

Brazilian youngsters Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo scored in either half to secure the win, with the latter marking his first appearance for the Spanish club with a debut goal.

Alphonse Areola also made his Los Blancos debut with Thibaut Courtois rested ahead of Saturday evening’s Madrid derby, and he caught the eye with a commanding performance.

Areola joined Real Madrid on loan from Paris Saint-Germain earlier this year
AFP or licensors

Though he didn’t actually have to make a save, with Osasuna failing to record a single shot on target, Areola made a stunning one-handed catch that emulated some of the best catches in NFL history.

Luka Jovic continues to wait for his first Real Madrid goal and was disappointed when a possible maiden strike was ruled out for offside after a VAR review.

Zinedine Zidane fielded something of a second-string line-up with Real visiting Atletico’s Wanda Metropolitano home in just two days, with Dani Carvajal, Raphael Varane, Karim Benzema and Eden Hazard all on the bench.

And while that quartet are all expected to return to the starting XI on Saturday evening, many fans suggested Areola deserves to keep his place in goal ahead of Courtois, who has struggled for form this season.

Barcelona left to sweat over Lionel Messi injury after Argentine limps off against Villarreal

25 Sep

Barcelona face a nervous wait over the severity of the injury sustained by Lionel Messi against Villarreal on Tuesday.

It was a first start of the season for Messi, who had recovered from a calf strain, but he did not make it beyond half-time and was replaced by Ousmane Dembele.

Lionel Messi was forced off with an injury against Villarreal
Getty Images - Getty

Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde said Messi picking up any has an impact on more than just his team-mates.

“It’s some discomfort in the abductor and so we didn’t want to risk it,” he said.

“When something happens to Messi, the world stops.

“Not only here at Barcelona. I don’t think it is serious. We did not want to take any risk. We will see anyway. We will see tomorrow [Wednesday].

“I cannot tell you anything now. He has been injured for a long time and we do not want to take any risks at the moment.”

Antoine Griezmann opened the scoring and Arthur Melo rifled in a wonder strike in a 2-1 win, with former Arsenal star Santi Cazorla netting a consolation, as Barcelona moved up to fourth in La Liga.

On Monday, Messi was named men’s player of the year at the Best FIFA Football Awards in Milan for a record sixth time.

He beat off competition from Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk and Juventus ace Cristiano Ronaldo.

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Barcelona may need a change of coach, but will their complacency put the wrong man in the job?

24 Sep

Ask someone who has never watched Spanish football before to pick out the reigning league champions from Saturday’s match at Nuevo Los Cármenes and there’s no way they would opt for the team with the Argentinian No.10.

The only thing worse than the result in Barcelona’s 2-0 defeat at Granada was their performance, dropping points for the third time in only five rounds of LaLiga and sending the Catalans into full crisis mode.

Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde’s future is a source of constant speculation, could he go sooner rather than later?
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The club’s poorest return after five league rounds since 1994, the Blaugrana have yet to win away from home, and have the joint worst defensive record in LaLiga.

While the attacking is bad, the erosion of the defensive solidity that has marked the Ernesto Valverde era has been particularly damaging, leaving him with few arguments left to fall back on.

Valverde’s critics have been seething since last spring when Barcelona let their 3-0 Champions League semi-final lead over Liverpool slip in humiliating fashion, and while club president Josep Maria Bartomeu was able to silence dissenting voices back then, it is growing more difficult.

Reports that members of the squad are no longer as confident in their boss as they once were look significant: one of Valverde’s strengths is his ability to achieve dressing room harmony.

Barcelona aren’t a club prone to sacking their coach mid-season – they last did so in 2003. Yet for all that Valverde is putting on a brave face, arguing it only takes three days to enter a crisis and three days to get out of it, that’s not a particularly reassuring line for those convinced the problems have been terminal for months.

Slip up again in the coming weeks and it is hard to see how Barcelona’s hierarchy further delay the switch they avoided after Anfield, but the Catalans have painted themselves into a corner. With the season underway the more convincing managerial options may not be available, and there is a risk of ending up with a less competent person in charge than the one they already have.

Former Real Betis boss Quique Setién, a populist choice for some of the more romantic members of the Barça fanbase, is one oft-touted candidate. The Santander native’s name has been spoken fondly of in the Camp Nou stands since he masterminded a spectacular 4-3 away win at the ground last November, his unwavering commitment to attacking football seen as a good fit for Barcelona.

Putting the philosophical fit to one side though, the reality is Setién failed to deliver the European football expected from a strong Betis squad, Getafe and Espanyol achieving what he could not with lesser resources.

Important too are some of his media missteps, like a misjudged attempt to motivate Marc Bartra by noting that the defender must have done something wrong to end up at Betis rather than Barcelona. At a mid-table club you can just about get away with those gaffes. At a club with Barça’s level of media focus, they can be catastrophic.

<span style="font-weight: 400">Setién</span> is a popular figure with fans at the Camp Nou
Getty - Contributor

The most extreme romantic option lies in Qatar, where Xavi Hernández is undertaking his first season as a senior coach in charge of Al Sadd.

Earmarked as a future Barça boss since before he had taken a training session, in a recent interview the club legend made eyes back towards the Camp Nou. “It wouldn’t be difficult to coach my old teammates. I know how Leo is, Luis, Busi, Jordi, Sergi. I know how they train, how they are as leaders, whether they’re sad or happy,” the Catalan told Diari Ara with little subtlety.

But while some fans would happily take the risk on an inexperienced Xavi now, he doesn’t necessarily see things the same way. With a sense of timing as keen off the pitch as it was on it, the Barça icon has made it clear that his return would have to come at the right moment.

Asked whether he thinks there are any interesting future projects for Barcelona in the pipeline, Xavi singled out Víctor Font, a rival hoping to win the club’s next presidential elections. The subtext is he chose not to praise the current board. 

Could Xavi return to the Camp Nou this season?
Getty - Contributor

If a blend of experience, proven success under pressure and dedication to the ‘right’ philosophy is the goal, then the best fit has to be a man with no connection to Spanish football at all.

Last season there was palpable envy in Barcelona when Erik ten Hag’s explosive young Ajax side made it to the Champions League semi-finals playing a positional, attacking style.

Faithful to the Ajax roots that Barça share while at the same time modernising them, Ten Hag has also been clear about the influence Pep Guardiola had on him (the Dutchman was Bayern Munich B-team coach while Pep was in charge of the seniors).

He is a coach who ticks more boxes than virtually anyone else, and on paper would be an excellent fit if available. But that’s a big if. The Ajax boss has previously stated he intends to honour his contract, and for him to abandon that principle in order take over someone else’s project, mid-season, could be too much to ask.

Ten Hag has done superbly with Ajax
Getty - Contributor

And therein lies the problem for Barcelona, who were flat-footed and failed to react to the early signs of problems when the timing was best for everyone – both club and potential candidates.

If a change was going to be made, last summer was the ideal time to make it. Change now, and they risk getting the wrong coach, or the right coach at the wrong time. Stick with the status quo, and they risk their European disappointments becoming domestic ones too.

Barcelona may need a change of coach, but will their complacency put the wrong man in the job?

24 Sep

Ask someone who has never watched Spanish football before to pick out the reigning league champions from Saturday’s match at Nuevo Los Cármenes and there’s no way they would opt for the team with the Argentinian No.10.

The only thing worse than the result in Barcelona’s 2-0 defeat at Granada was their performance, dropping points for the third time in only five rounds of LaLiga and sending the Catalans into full crisis mode.

Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde’s future is a source of constant speculation, could he go sooner rather than later?
Getty Images - Getty

The club’s poorest return after five league rounds since 1994, the Blaugrana have yet to win away from home, and have the joint worst defensive record in LaLiga.

While the attacking is bad, the erosion of the defensive solidity that has marked the Ernesto Valverde era has been particularly damaging, leaving him with few arguments left to fall back on.

Valverde’s critics have been seething since last spring when Barcelona let their 3-0 Champions League semi-final lead over Liverpool slip in humiliating fashion, and while club president Josep Maria Bartomeu was able to silence dissenting voices back then, it is growing more difficult.

Reports that members of the squad are no longer as confident in their boss as they once were look significant: one of Valverde’s strengths is his ability to achieve dressing room harmony.

Barcelona aren’t a club prone to sacking their coach mid-season – they last did so in 2003. Yet for all that Valverde is putting on a brave face, arguing it only takes three days to enter a crisis and three days to get out of it, that’s not a particularly reassuring line for those convinced the problems have been terminal for months.

Slip up again in the coming weeks and it is hard to see how Barcelona’s hierarchy further delay the switch they avoided after Anfield, but the Catalans have painted themselves into a corner. With the season underway the more convincing managerial options may not be available, and there is a risk of ending up with a less competent person in charge than the one they already have.

Former Real Betis boss Quique Setién, a populist choice for some of the more romantic members of the Barça fanbase, is one oft-touted candidate. The Santander native’s name has been spoken fondly of in the Camp Nou stands since he masterminded a spectacular 4-3 away win at the ground last November, his unwavering commitment to attacking football seen as a good fit for Barcelona.

Putting the philosophical fit to one side though, the reality is Setién failed to deliver the European football expected from a strong Betis squad, Getafe and Espanyol achieving what he could not with lesser resources.

Important too are some of his media missteps, like a misjudged attempt to motivate Marc Bartra by noting that the defender must have done something wrong to end up at Betis rather than Barcelona. At a mid-table club you can just about get away with those gaffes. At a club with Barça’s level of media focus, they can be catastrophic.

<span style="font-weight: 400">Setién</span> is a popular figure with fans at the Camp Nou
Getty - Contributor

The most extreme romantic option lies in Qatar, where Xavi Hernández is undertaking his first season as a senior coach in charge of Al Sadd.

Earmarked as a future Barça boss since before he had taken a training session, in a recent interview the club legend made eyes back towards the Camp Nou. “It wouldn’t be difficult to coach my old teammates. I know how Leo is, Luis, Busi, Jordi, Sergi. I know how they train, how they are as leaders, whether they’re sad or happy,” the Catalan told Diari Ara with little subtlety.

But while some fans would happily take the risk on an inexperienced Xavi now, he doesn’t necessarily see things the same way. With a sense of timing as keen off the pitch as it was on it, the Barça icon has made it clear that his return would have to come at the right moment.

Asked whether he thinks there are any interesting future projects for Barcelona in the pipeline, Xavi singled out Víctor Font, a rival hoping to win the club’s next presidential elections. The subtext is he chose not to praise the current board. 

Could Xavi return to the Camp Nou this season?
Getty - Contributor

If a blend of experience, proven success under pressure and dedication to the ‘right’ philosophy is the goal, then the best fit has to be a man with no connection to Spanish football at all.

Last season there was palpable envy in Barcelona when Erik ten Hag’s explosive young Ajax side made it to the Champions League semi-finals playing a positional, attacking style.

Faithful to the Ajax roots that Barça share while at the same time modernising them, Ten Hag has also been clear about the influence Pep Guardiola had on him (the Dutchman was Bayern Munich B-team coach while Pep was in charge of the seniors).

He is a coach who ticks more boxes than virtually anyone else, and on paper would be an excellent fit if available. But that’s a big if. The Ajax boss has previously stated he intends to honour his contract, and for him to abandon that principle in order take over someone else’s project, mid-season, could be too much to ask.

Ten Hag has done superbly with Ajax
Getty - Contributor

And therein lies the problem for Barcelona, who were flat-footed and failed to react to the early signs of problems when the timing was best for everyone – both club and potential candidates.

If a change was going to be made, last summer was the ideal time to make it. Change now, and they risk getting the wrong coach, or the right coach at the wrong time. Stick with the status quo, and they risk their European disappointments becoming domestic ones too.

Real Madrid quartet named in Best FIFA Awards Men’s World XI 2019, while Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi also make the cut

23 Sep

Eden Hazard was one of four Real Madrid players to make it into the Best FIFA Awards Men’s World XI which was announced on Monday night.

The Belgian international played a starring role in former side Chelsea’s Europa League triumph last season, with Sergio Ramos, Marcelo and Luka Modric were also included in the team, with two members of Liverpool’s Champions League squad also making the cut.

Eden Hazard celebrates winning the Europa League with Chelsea in May
Getty

Alisson Becker and Virgil van Dijk were both crucial to the Reds’ sixth European Cup success in June.

Meanwhile, Barcelona and Juventus – like Liverpool –  have two inclusions from their respective sides.

Lionel Messi and Frenkie de Jong are Barca’s representatives – though the Dutch midfielder was part of the Ajax time which got to the Champions League semi-finals in 2018/19.

The same goes for Matthijs de Ligt who captained Ajax before switching to Juventus, while Cristiano Ronaldo unsurprisingly also get the nod in this star-studded side.

Joining Messi and Ronaldo in attack is teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe, who flies the flag for Paris Saint-Germain.

Best FIFA Awards Men's World XI

Goalkeeper: Alisson Becker

Defenders: Matthijs de Ligt, Virgil van Dijk, Sergio Ramos, Marcelo

Midfielders: Frenkie de Jong, Eden Hazard, Luka Modric

Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe

 

 

Real Madrid beat Sevilla to ease pressure on Zinedine Zidane, as manager praises Gareth Bale

23 Sep

Under-pressure Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane hailed his players’ unity after they bounced back from a heavy defeat at Paris Saint-Germain by beating in-form Sevilla.

Wednesday’s miserable 3-0 Champions League loss in the French capital led to reports Zidane could be on his way out of the Bernabeu, just six months after returning as boss.

Real Madrid are joint leaders of LaLiga after their 1-0 win over Valencia
Getty Images

But his chances of being given more time were boosted by a second-half header from Karim Benzema, which secured a slender 1-0 win.

The victory moved the visitors level on 11 points with league leaders Athletic Bilbao, while inflicting a first defeat on Sevilla coach Julen Lopetegui, who was sacked by Real just under 11 months ago.

And Zidane was left to thank goalscorer Benzema and even had a word of praise for Gareth Bale, who has worked his way back into the starting XI after Zidane’s attempted to force the Welshman out of the Bernabeu in the summer.

“We’re happy because we played the full 90 minutes at a high level at a difficult place,” said Zidane at his post-match press conference.

“This is a group win and I’m happy for all the players. Sevilla have done well since the beginning of the season and we have to congratulate the players.

“We played with personality for the 90 minutes. Everyone helped each other out on the field and what is obvious is the defensive solidarity.

“We know how difficult it is playing here.”


WATCH: Gareth Bale REFUSES to hold Real Madrid pennant before game


Gareth Bale is starring for Real Madrid again
AFP or licensors

Frenchman Zidane guided Madrid to three European crowns during his previous spell in charge but endured a difficult end to last season and a low-key start to this term.

He handed a first league start to big-money summer signing Eden Hazard on Sunday, selecting him as part of three-pronged attack with Gareth Bale and match-winner Benzema.

Former Chelsea playmaker Hazard was denied a maiden Real goal in the first half of a tight and, at times, tetchy encounter, while Bale poked into the side-netting late on after Sevilla substitute Javier Hernandez correctly had a goal disallowed for offside.

Zidane haile fellow Frenchman Benzema after his game winning goal against Valencia

While the game was short on chances, Zidane praised the clinical nature of compatriot Benzema and defensive contribution of his attacking talent.

“We know what Benzema is about and he got us the win again,” he added.

“We defended well and read the game well tactically. That is crucial when you take on such a big team. We knew we could score and thanks to Karim, we did so.

“We know we can do more in attack and we will do that. The team work we saw was fundamental in this win. James [Rodriguez], Gareth, Hazard and the others were important. We defended well and at a place like this you need to.

“Now we have to rest and congratulate the players because they have given everything out on the field and I’m happy.”

Zinedine Zidane under huge pressure at Real Madrid after admitting his side were ‘outplayed in every department’ by PSG

19 Sep

Real Madrid legend Zinedine Zidane is under huge pressure after the Spanish giants’ poor start to the season continued in the Champions League.

The Bernabeu boss admitted his side were outplayed ‘in every department’ on Wednesday night as they suffered a 3-0 defeat to Paris Saint-Germain.

Zidane is facing calls to be sacked after Wednesday’s dreadful defeat to PSG
AFP

PSG were without key attacking trio Kylian Mbappe, Edinson Cavai and Neymar but still ran riot against Real, with Angel Di Maria coming back to haunt his former club with a fine brace.

Real also hit a 16-year European low in the game as they failed to land a single shot on target.

They did have two goals disallowed by VAR, from Gareth Bale [for a harsh handball] and Karim Benzema [for offside], but ultimately the final score was a fair reflection of the game as PSG dominated.

Madrid have been struggling with injuries, with Luka Modric, Marcelo, Isco and Marco Asensio all on the sidelines, while captain Sergio Ramos was suspended.

But Zidane admits his team just could not compete with the French champions and lacked intensity as he suffered his biggest ever European defeat as Real boss.

“They were better than us in every department, in the play, in midfield, and the thing that annoys me most is the intensity,” he told Marca.

Angel Di Maria was a thorn in his former club’s side as he inspired PSG to victory in Paris
getty

“It’s difficult if you don’t start strongly. They’re good at creating chances, that’s not what worries me, it’s seeing my team without the necessary intensity at the high level of this competition.

“We knew they were going to press us, but we barely made any impact on the game and we created few chances.”

Zidane also refused to lay the blame at the door of any of his players, adding: “We’re all in the same boat here, I’m not going to single anyone out.”

The Frenchman’s return to Real has not gone to plan. In 17 games since his reappointment as manager in March, Los Blancos have won just seven, drawn four and lost five.

During his first spell in charge, which saw him guide the club to three straight Champions League titles, he boasted a win percentage of 80 per cent. Since coming back it reads as just 56 per cent.

And now the World Cup winning legend is facing claims he is not up to the task at Real and that his original success at the Bernabau was down to one man – Cristiano Ronaldo.

And the defeat to PSG wasn’t a one-off. Real were 3-0 up at home to Levante on Saturday and eventually won 3-2, and only avoided drawing 3-3 thanks to a brilliant late save from Thibaut Courtois.

They also drew 2-2 at Villarreal earlier this season, and the player who scored both of their goals was Bale – the man Zidane attempted to force out over the summer.

They also spent €300million in transfer window, but fans are not seeing any improvement on the pitch with top signing Eden Hazard yet to score or make an assist in a white shirt.

Everybody knows managers have a short life expectancy at Real Madrid but, having made the decision to end his first spell himself, Zidane may find he is given the boot if results and performances do not improve.