Real Struggle Continues

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez went down into the dressing room after watching his side lose 1-0 to Betis on Wednesday night.

By all accounts it was to give his full backing to Zinedine Zidane and to all the players, but his mere presence will have chilled the air – the big boss only makes an appearance in the players’ inner sanctum either when they’ve just won something or when something is going very wrong.

A 1-0 defeat by a team who had gone 19 years without winning at the Bernabeu, and one that left Madrid seventh with almost half as many points as leaders Barcelona and the same number of goals as Lionel Messi has scored on his own, was reason enough.

Madrid have not failed to win any of their first three home games since the 1995-96 season.

This isn’t panic level president-at-the-training-ground (that is always more serious because it means he has actually gone out of his way to confront the coach and his team whereas he is already at the ground on a matchday), but it was a sign that all is not going to plan. Not yet anyway.

The good news for Real Madrid is that on Saturday they play the second-worst team in the league. Alaves have lost all five of their opening games and already sacked their coach.

And the even better news is that the game will be played away from the Bernabeu. The best thing that can happen to Real Madrid in the 10 days is that they don’t set foot inside their stadium. The further away from it the better.


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