There’s some real trouble brewing in Madrid as the undisputed Champions League winners have crashed out of the competition.
Real Madrid have a sporting pedigree that includes winning the trophy for the past three soccer seasons and four times in the past five seasons.
In all, Europe’s leading club side have won the Champions League 13 times and been runners up three times in all its incarnations since 1956.
But the club is in disarray.
After just 10 months and two more managers, Frenchman Zinedine Zidane has returned to the hot seat as first team coach.
Real Madrid have nothing left to play for. The cup and league are beyond them and they were summarily despatched from the Champions League by a moderate Ajax Amsterdam.
Winners and losers
Behind-the-scenes, the Galacticos are not such super stars.
It’s well-known Gareth Barry and Zidane do not get on and he may well be forced to leave this summer as Zidane clears out the old guard.
Barry has said he doesn’t want to go – and that’s probably because with his age and fitness, no other top club will want to fork out £12 million a year in wages for an aging player who has spent a lot of time on the treatment table in recent seasons.
In fact, despite the reputation as a club made up of superstars, Real Madrid have not bought anyone fit for that title for several years.
Zidane says he left because the team needed to keep winning and to do so, the players had to change.
“I am a winner, I do not like losing. If I cannot see things clearly, as I would like, and that we are not going to continue winning, it is better not to carry on and not mess about,” he said.
Dressing room conflict
The abrasive club captain Sergio Ramos has also had a brush in the dressing room with club president Florentino Perez.
Perez told the players that the club’s poor showing this season was their fault. Ramos argued Perez had a hand in the club’s fate as well.
Perez reportedly told Ramos he would sell him. The response from Ramos was that was fine with him.
Demoralised, nothing to play for and distress in the dressing room is no image for a club like Real Madrid to project.
Zidane has his work cut out and will probably start with a player exodus and a hunt for new stars.
Chelsea’s Eden Hazard is said to be top of his wish-list and a tentative £70 million offer is on the way to test the London club’s resolve about keeping their start Belgium midfielder.