Zidane adamant LaLiga failure won't constitute a 'bad season'

By Sports Desk May 12, 2021

Zinedine Zidane does not think 2020-21 will automatically be considered a "bad season" if Real Madrid fail to successfully defend their LaLiga title.

A 2-2 draw at home to Sevilla at the weekend left Madrid two points adrift of leaders Atletico Madrid with three games to go, the stalemate meaning title success was no longer in their hands.

They go to Granada on Thursday having beaten the Nazaries in 17 of their 18 LaLiga meetings, that sole defeat coming in 2013 as a result of the only own goal Cristiano Ronaldo has ever scored in Europe's top five leagues.

Their run of 11 successive league wins over Granada is their best current winning streak over a single opponent in LaLiga.

If Atletico beat Real Sociedad on Wednesday, a shock defeat for Madrid will effectively end their title hopes as they will be five points behind with two games to go.

Zidane is not losing faith, though he does not think it can be deemed a poor campaign even if they do not win LaLiga.

"Everything can happen," he told reporters. "We can win it just like we can lose it.

"The most important thing is to give everything and how we act on the pitch. We've played good games and the season is long.

"I am not going to say that it is a bad season, because that's when you don't give everything on the pitch.

"2017 was a phenomenal season and we could have lost in the last game. The most important thing is what you can control, and then whatever happens will happen."

The focus after that Sevilla draw was on the officiating, as Zidane publicly criticised referee Juan Martinez Munuera for giving a penalty against Eder Militao for handball.

The infringement was brought to the referee's attention by a VAR review, his decision to bring play back subsequently robbing Madrid of a penalty of their own at the other end after Karim Benzema had been brought down by Yassine Bounou.

Zidane was not prepared to get into the discussion again, accepting things could get "messy" if he did.

"I'm not going to get into the polemics. Things should be clear to everyone," he said. "The VAR will always help to improve football but specific plays must be clarified.

"In the end, everyone does their job. I'm not going to talk about these things anymore. I trust football.

"We will do our job and the referee his. I'm not going to say something because it makes a mess. We are going to control our work."

Related items

  • BREAKING NEWS: Martial seals Man Utd exit with Sevilla loan BREAKING NEWS: Martial seals Man Utd exit with Sevilla loan

    Anthony Martial will play the remainder of the 2021-22 season on loan in LaLiga with Sevilla after falling out of favour at Manchester United.

    France international Martial has reportedly taken a pay cut to join the Andalusian club, who it is said will pay €6million for salary and a loan fee combined.

    United interim boss Ralf Rangnick revealed last month that Martial had asked to leave the club in January after struggling for first-team football following a return from injury.

    Rangnick then claimed in the wake of United's 2-2 Premier League draw with Aston Villa that Martial was not with the squad because he "didn't want" to be involved – the forward refuted those claims.

    While Rangnick drew a line under the situation, he hinted United were negotiating exits for several players ahead of the transfer deadline, and Sevilla's tactic of playing the long game has paid off.

    LaLiga's second-placed side were linked with Martial last month, but reports suggested they could not get anywhere near the player's wage demands, and United were seemingly unwilling to lower their own demands.

    But a breakthrough in negotiations has seen the clubs reach an agreement that Sevilla will hope significantly boosts their chances in LaLiga's title race.

    After 22 matches played, Sevilla are just four points behind leaders Real Madrid.

    Throughout January, they have been linked with forwards due to injuries and a general lack of goals scored – their 34 in LaLiga is the fewest of those in the top four and 13 behind Madrid's tally.

    Rafa Mir is their top scorer in the league despite a fairly underwhelming total of six in 20 appearances, with the pre-season arrival from Wolves struggling to pick up the slack for Youssef En-Nesyri, who has been absent through injury and Africa Cup of Nations duty.

    Sevilla will hope Martial can hit the ground running after the international break, but he may be lacking match sharpness given he has played the full 90 minutes of a game once all season and has played just eight minutes of football since Rangnick's first match in charge in early December.

  • Morocco 2-1 Malawi: Hakimi stunner sends Atlas Lions through to AFCON quarter-finals Morocco 2-1 Malawi: Hakimi stunner sends Atlas Lions through to AFCON quarter-finals

    Morocco booked their place in the Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals as Achraf Hakimi's stunning free-kick sealed a 2-1 win over Malawi.

    The Paris Saint-Germain full-back struck 20 minutes from time at Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo after Youssef En-Nesyri cancelled out Gabadinho Mhango's magnificent early effort.

    After scraping through Group B in third place, Malawi were making their first appearance in the AFCON knockout stages.

    The Flames took a surprise lead in the seventh minute, Mhango catching Yassine Bounou off his line with a wonderful 40-yard lob.

    Morocco had only lost one of their previous 11 games when facing an opponent in the competition for the first time.

    Vahid Halilhodzic's side equalised in first-half stoppage time as En-Nesyri headed home from Selim Amallah's deep cross.

    The contest looked possibly set for extra time until Hakimi emphatically beat Charles Thomu from 30 yards to send his nation through to the last eight, where they will face Ivory Coast or Egypt.

  • Bailey expected to return to full Villa training in two weeks Bailey expected to return to full Villa training in two weeks

    Aston Villa forward Leon Bailey is closing in on a return to the first team, having spent over a month on the sidelines due to injury.

    The Jamaica international was forced to leave the field before halftime after pulling up against Manchester City early in December.

    The injury was similar to one the player had suffered against Aston Villa in September when he was also sidelined for several weeks.  Having missed out on the Jamaica Reggae Boyz three matches for the upcoming international window, Aston Villa coach Steven Gerrard believes the period will provide the player with plenty of time to slowly ease himself back into action.

    “Leon is not too far away and we are hoping to have him back in the next two weeks.

    “The (winter) break will benefit Leon as he won’t miss many more games,” Gerrard said.

    “Hopefully in two weeks’ time he is ready to train with the group,” he added.

    The 24-year-old who moved from Bayer Leverkusen for an estimated £25million last summer has had a stop-start beginning to life at Villa Park but has shown plenty of promise whenever he has managed to get time on the pitch.  He has scored once in 9 appearances.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.