Tag Archives: Real Madrid

Paris Saint-Germain vs Real Madrid – Champions League Last 16 predictions

The Champions League last 16 fixtures are finally upon us after a two month break since the group stages.

In arguably the tie of the round we’ll see last season’s semi-finalists Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid go head-to-head in a star-studded two-legged affair.

Lets take a look at the tie in more detail and make our predictions to see who will progress into the last eight of Europe’s most prestigious cup competition.

Route to the last 16

Paris Saint-Germain were planted right in the middle of another group of death scenario as they were last season, alongside Man City, RB Leizig and Club Brugge.

They made hard work of it, ending the group stage in second place some way behind City after draws with both Brugge and Leipzig as well as a defeat by City at the Etihad Stadium. It wasn’t until victory in the final game that they secured qualification.

Real Madrid had an easier time of qualification in their group, alongside Inter Milan, Shakhtar Donetsk and minnows Sheriff.

They were shockingly beaten at the Bernabeu by Sheriff, but were able to win all five of their other fixtures to top the group and pull clear of Italian champions Inter on the final day to secure that spot.

Team news

PSG are likely to be without former Madrid captain Sergio Ramos for the first-leg of the game, with the Spaniard still suffering from calf problems that have restricted him to just four appearances this season.

Neymar is back in training after injury but will likely only make the bench at best for the first leg, meaning old foe Lionel Messi and Madrid-bound Kylian Mbappe will lead their attack.

Gianluigi Donnarumma is likely to get the nod ahead of Keylor Navas in goal, while Achraf Hakimi will also be making a return to the Bernabeu during this tie.

Paris Saint-Germain's Spanish defender Sergio Ramos and Paris Saint-Germain's French forward Kylian Mbappe run during the warm-up sesson ahead of the...

For Madrid, they’re struggling to get key man Karim Benzema fit following a thigh injury.

The French striker has missed each of the last three games, and Ancelotti’s side have managed just one goal in his absence. Vinicius Jr has also seen his form dip since, which is bad news for Los Blancos.

Eden Hazard is fit but out of favour, but as a man always ready for the big occasion he could get the nod in Benzema’s absence. Ferland Mendy is also a doubt at left-back, so Marcelo could start.

Breakdown and Prediction

Tactically these two teams are very similar on the pitch with the way they set up defensively and the way they attack.

Both managers have formed a solid defence during the season, with a midfield that is all about control rather than creativity or solidity.

They complete plenty of passes on the ball and play their way out of tight situations, using pace and individual skill to create goalscoring opportunities in the final third.

With Benzema likely to be out of the game and Vinicius’ form struggling without him, PSG have a huge chance of progression.

Messi’s best form has come in Europe this season, with five goals in the six group games while Mbappe has been sensational this season and is the club’s top scorer.

Away goals are no longer a factor in the tournament so home advantage in the second leg is less important, and PSG must look to take advantage of a weaker Madrid team that they’ll be coming up against.

It’ll be a close but entertaining affair for sure, simply because of the quality on the pitch, but I do expect PSG to have the added X-factor in attack and be able to eliminate the 13-time champions.

Paris SG 2-0 Real Madrid
Real Madrid 1-1 Paris SG
(Paris SG qualify 3-1 on aggregate)

Full redrawn Champions League Last 16 draw – Fixtures and dates

The UEFA Champions League last 16 draw has been re-drawn after a botched attempt on Monday morning, and has thrown up some cracking ties.

At the second attempt of trying, Manchester United were drawn with Spanish champions Atletico Madrid while Real Madrid will take on Paris Saint-Germain in the tie of the round.

Manchester City will face Sporting CP, while Liverpool take on Inter Milan. Chelsea were the winners of the redraw, keeping their original opponents in Ligue 1’s Lille.

The original draw saw Manchester United once again set to face off against Paris Saint-Germain, with Cristiano Ronaldo to go head-to-head with Lionel Messi once again in the tie of the round.

Atletico Madrid were scheduled to take on Bayern Munich in the other mega tie, while the other English sides would have been happy with their draws as Liverpool faced Salzburg, Man City faced Villarreal.

However UEFA accidentally put Manchester United into the pot to be drawn against Villarreal and then they were selected, despite being ineligible to do so having come from the same group.

United then weren’t put into the pot for the potential opponents of Atletico amid the confusion, meaning they could never have been drawn against each other.

The draw will now be re-done at 14:00 UK time after several complaints that the botched draw affected the integrity of the competition going forward.

The fixtures will take place in February, with the first legs taking place on February 15/16 or 22/23 with the second legs taking place on March 8/9 or 15/16. Group winners will play their home game in the second leg.

Full draw and fixture dates:

FC Salzburg vs Bayern Munich – February 16th 2022
Bayern Munich vs FC Salzburg – March 8th 2022

Sporting CP vs Manchester City – February 15th 2022
Manchester City vs Sporting CP – March 9th 2022

SL Benfica vs Ajax – February 23rd 2022
Ajax vs SL Benfica – March 15th 2022

Chelsea vs Lille – February 22nd 2022
Lille vs Chelsea – March 16th 2022

Atletico Madrid vs Manchester United – February 23rd 2022
Manchester United vs Atletico Madrid – March 15th 2022

Villarreal vs Juventus – February 22nd 2022
Juventus vs Villarreal – March 16th 2022

Inter Milan vs Liverpool – February 16th 2022
Liverpool vs Inter Milan – March 8th 2022

Paris Saint-Germain vs Real Madrid – February 15th 2022
Real Madrid vs Paris Saint-Germain – March 9th 2022

Fantasy Matches: Real Madrid 15-18 vs Barcelona 08-11

When you think about the best teams of the modern era, there are two that stick out like a sore thumb.

During a period where Spanish football was the home of the best players and managers in the world, it was obviously Barcelona and Real Madrid that had periods of dominance across Europe and domestically.

But what would have happened if you put those two teams, at their best, head-to-head with each other? We’re here to break it down and try and figure it out.

Barcelona between 2008 and 2011 were and are considered one of the greatest club sides in the history of football.

Under the guidance of Pep Guardiola, they revolutionised the way attacking football was played up until this day. They dominated possession, scored countless goals, passed opponents to death and were the home to arguably the greatest player of all-time in Lionel Messi.

Their 4-3-3 system with attacking full-backs and technically secure players all over the pitch set the benchmark as they won two Champions League trophies, three La Liga titles, three Spanish Super Cups, a Copa Del Rey, two UEFA Super Cups and two Club World Cups across three-and-a-half seasons.

Real Madrid couldn’t compete with them during that period, but they made their own mark half a decade later when they not only became the first team to retain their Champions League trophy but they also made it three-in-a-row.

Add to that a La Liga title, a Spanish Super Cup, two UEFA Super Cups and two World Club Cups under Zinedine Zidane (plus an extra World Club Cup under Santi Solari after Zidane’s resignation), this is a team synonymous with success and winning.

The brilliant goalscoring of Cristiano Ronaldo, the majestic midfield play of Luka Modric and Tony Kroos, the playmaking from full-back by Marcelo and the leadership of Sergio Ramos at the back, this was a complete squad.

The difference between these two powerhouse teams is that Real Madrid were able to adapt their style of play depending on the opponent.

Against weaker opposition they had the ability to dominate the ball and carve open defences to score goals, while pushing high up the pitch to sustain pressure.

When they came up against quality outfits though, Zidane would ensure they sat a bit deeper defensively, were compact in midfield and explosive on the counter attack with the pace of Ronaldo, Benzema and even Gareth Bale leading the way.

Barcelona on the other hand were the same no matter what. Much like today’s Guardiola, it was all about controlling the ball and dominating possession. Short passes, lots of sharp movements and rotation across positions and technical security meant they were unshakeable on the ball.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Zinedine Zidane pose for a photo accepts The Best FIFA Men's Player award during The Best FIFA Football Awards at The London...

But the Catalan legend also instilled a hunger in the team to win the ball back as soon as possible when they did lose it, famously starting a seven-second press that if the opponent was able to surpass would usually result on them being in on goal.

It’s fair to say that Zidane’s Madrid side would ultimately allow Barcelona to have the ball in midfield and be compact, while using their own technical abilities and brilliant quality to try and pick them off on the counter as they did to so many top sides during their Champions League wins during that period.

The difference however, is that this Madrid side never came up against this Lionel Messi.

The little Argentine was a totally different animal under Guardiola, which is terrifying considering all he has achieved since they parted ways in 2012.

Lionel Messi of Argentina and Barcelona FC receives the FIFA player of the year award during the FIFA Ballon d'Or Gala 2010 t the congress hall on...

I have no doubts that Ronaldo would likely have a say on the game himself, because during this period of time he was at his goalscoring best and most clutch. But Messi could effect the game without just putting the ball into the net.

David Villa and Pedro were also huge goalscoring threats from the wing, while Dani Alves in his peak was arguably the best right-back of all-time. It’s hard to imagine this Real Madrid side keeping this peak Barcelona side goalless for 90 minutes and while I wouldn’t bet against them scoring themselves, ultimately the greatest player of all-time would separate the two best club sides we’ve seen in this era of football.

Prediction: Real Madrid (15-18) 1-2 Barcelona (08-11) / Messi masterclass.

Vinicius Jr is having his Real Madrid breakthrough

A little bit under a year ago, Vinicius was in the headlines at Real Madrid for all the wrong reasons.

During a Champions League group game against Borussia Moenchengladbach while 1-0 down at half-time, Vinicius had been struggling.

Then the cameras picked up Karim Benzema telling Ferland Mendy not to pass him the ball because he was “playing against us” and all hell broke loose.

Benzema was forced to apologise publicly, while Vinicius’ form and confidence took a hit in the Madrid side that eventually finished as runners-up in La Liga and were eliminated in the Champions League semi-finals.

Zinedine Zidane left and Carlo Ancelotti came in and now fast forward to today, a year on from that incident, and Vinicius has grown into one of the most important members of the Real Madrid attack.

With seven goals and three assists in 11 appearances this season, he’s become far more productive than he has been in previous seasons. But his influence on the team is growing too.

He has become the regular starter on the left wing ahead of big money man Eden Hazard and his relationship with Benzema has improved to the point where they are both having the best start to a season they have ever had.

It’s a breakthrough campaign for the Brazilian, who is now into his fourth season at the Bernabeu despite only being 21-years-old.

He has already surpassed his goal tally for every other season at the club before Novemeber and with Hazard’s future at the club in doubt, he is making the spot his own.

From the depths of ‘Binicius’ and his own teammates not wanting to give him the ball, he’s now the go-to man along with Benzema and with the fans backing him the sky is the limit.

Karim Benzema is the best player in the world right now

When you judge the intangibles of football, often these things can come down to preference.

Whether you prefer a powerhouse, a technical clinic, or a fine mixture of both can often decide who you believe to be the best when comparing top talents that are immeasurable.

One thing that is measurable though, even without stats, is how a player affects football matches in a positive way for his team.

As it stands right now in the world of top level football, there is one man doing that more than any other and his name is Karim Benzema.

The Real Madrid striker was firmly in the shadow of Cristiano Ronaldo for many years at the Bernabeu, while a legal case saw his time with Les Bleus cut short too.

But over the last 12 months it’s hard to argue that there has been a footballer on planet Earth more influential than the 33-year-old.

It wasn’t long ago that I wrote an article pleading for people to start giving Benzema his flowers for his fine form since the departure of his Portuguese strike partner.

Karim Benzema of France scores their side's first goal whilst under pressure from Cesar Azpilicueta of Spain during the UEFA Nations League 2021...

But in the last 12 months in particular he has improved even further and gone up another level, to the point where the French national team couldn’t overlook him anymore.

Benzema was the stand-out player for France as they crashed out of Euro 2020 earlier than expected, but he then started the season for Real Madrid on fire as the main man once again.

With no more Sergio Ramos and Marcelo relegated to fourth-choice left-back under Carlo Ancelotti, Benzema is now the regular captain of the side.

He’s not the same type of leader as Ramos, but he’s been just as effective. He’s built an excellent partnership with Brazilian winger Vinicius Jr and has put the team on his shoulders, with a breathtaking ten goals and seven assists in ten games so far this season.

He continued that into the UEFA Nations League with France, as he grabbed the team by the scruff of the neck in the semi-final and final as they became the first team to win all three major international honours.

In the semi-final at 2-0 down to Belgium, it was he he stepped up in a team of superstars and led by example. A brilliant bit of individual skill created a yard of space before he smashed the ball into the far corner to start the comeback.

Then in the final, in a tight affair between two top quality teams, moments after going 1-0 down it was Benzema again who collected the ball out wide, skipped past a defender and curled a wonder strike into the top corner.

Karim Benzema of France celebrates his team's second goal during the UEFA Nations League Final match between the Spain and France at San Siro Stadium...

It was just another moment of a glorious career but more importantly a glorious year.

Don’t talk to me about Lionel Messi. Don’t talk to me about Cristiano Ronaldo. Don’t talk to me about Kylian Mbappe, Neymar, Erling Haaland, Robert Lewandowski or Kevin De Bruyne. Karim Benzema is the best player in the world right now.

Kylian Mbappe admits he wants out of PSG, but why now?

It was one of the biggest stories of the summer in the world of football, but in the end Kylian Mbappe wasn’t sold to Real Madrid and instead stayed at Paris Saint-Germain.

The French forward was subject to a €180m bid from the Spanish giants as the deadline approached and with less than a year remaining on his contract it was believed that he would leave the club.

But Paris Saint-Germain stood firm and refused to sell one of their star-men to keep together a squad that they built over the course of the transfer window as one of the best in Europe, citing the late interest from Madrid as a big factor.

Mbappe has started the season well, scoring four and assisting five goals in 11 games for the French giants so far. But after going back to international duty with France now, he has revealed in an interview with RMC Sport that he told PSG he wanted to leave in July.

“I asked to leave [in July] because from the moment I didn’t want to extend, I wanted the club to have a transfer fee to have a quality replacement. I wanted everyone to grow, to go out ‘hand in hand’, to make a good deal, and I respected that. I said, if you don’t want me to leave, I’ll stay.

“People have said that I’ve turned down six or seven offers for an extension, that I don’t want to talk to Leonardo anymore, that’s absolutely not true. It’s a club that has given me a lot, I’ve always been happy, and I still am.

“My position has been clear. I said I wanted to leave (PSG) and I said it early enough. Personally, I didn’t really appreciate saying ‘he’s coming the last week of August’ because that sounds like a thief. I said at the end of July that I wanted to leave.”

But why now? When Real Madrid are arguably at the weakest point they’ve been in during Mbappe’s lifetime and Paris Saint-Germain are undoubtedly the strongest they’ve ever been.

It’s simple really. It’s a lifelong dream for Mbappe, and he now has the chance to dictate his own future and make it a reality.

So often fans and media criticise players for going for the biggest paycheck, or for not caring about the “beautiful game” anymore. Mbappe is doing the exact opposite.

Kylian Mbappe of Paris Saint-Germain looks on during the Ligue 1 Uber Eats match between Rennes and Paris Saint Germain at Roazhon Park on October 3,...

He knows he could walk into any club side in the world already, even at 22-years-old. He is already one of the highest earners in the PSG dressing room and could quite easily become their all-time top goalscorer if he stayed until he was 25.

But he’s done it all in France already. He’s a multi-time golden boot winner, he’s won the league with Monaco and PSG, he’s won all the domestic cups. The only thing he hasn’t done is win the Champions League, and he could very well do that this season.

It’s hard to imagine that Mbappe hasn’t seen how the Harry Kane situation unfolded this summer with Spurs and Man City and not learnt from it. PSG are not a club that need money and therefore they never need to sell a player that they don’t want to sell.

They clearly want to keep Mbappe, so signing a new contract with the club just ties him down and ruins his chances of a future move. As it stands, all the cards are in his hands.

He stays at PSG for another year still happy, still scoring goals and still being influential. When next summer comes he has the world at his feet. If Real Madrid can’t stump up enough in wages and a signing on fee to sign him, then Mbappe will not be short on options.

But if they do, which you have to assume is likely considering they were willing to spend €180m this summer, then Mbappe will be joining one of the most prestigious clubs in the history of world football. Not only that, but he will be joining as their star man, the face of the club and the face of the Spanish top division.

He will be the man, something that he isn’t and can’t be at PSG while Neymar and Lionel Messi exist. He makes Madrid so much better and a huge threat in every competition they enter and he has the chance to pursue a career and be successful with the club of his dreams.

For once, the love of the game and the love of football wins out over money and glory. He should be praised for his decision and the way he has gone about it, not questioned. He’s just a fan at the end of the day.

Remembering Greatness: Ricardo Carvalho

Between the early 00’s and mid 2010’s the manager who running football was none other than Jose Mourinho.

Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan and Real Madrid all hosted the Portuguese gaffer, and at three of those clubs he made sure that he had the great Ricardo Carvalho with him marshalling the defence for him.

From a period of having flowing locks to essentially going bald, Carvalho was a standout defender wherever he went and always shone, yet he never seemed to get the full credit that he really deserved.

Coming through the FC Porto academy, Carvalho was well known for his excellent tackling and dominant aerial ability. Positionally he was always flawless and he always had leadership qualities that shone through in a team full of quality footballers.

After breaking through into the Porto first-team, he found himself third choice behind the legendary duo of Jorge Andrade and captain Jorge Costa. It wasn’t long until he took the place of the skipper though and formed a tremendous partnership at the heart of the defence as Porto came second in the league.

He lost his place when Mourinho first came to Porto, with Costa earning his place back after Andrade left for Deportivo and partnering Pedro Emmanuel. He soon earned his place back once more though and as Porto went on to win the UEFA Cup by beating Celtic 3-2 after extra-time. His performances were so good that he even earned the individual honours of Porto player of the year and Portuguese League Footballer of the year.

The following year was when Carvalho became a true household name. A regular starter now under Mourinho, he led Porto to a second consecutive Primeira Liga title but also to a stunning win in the UEFA Champions League tournament. During that season he featured in every game during the competition, including the 3-0 final win over Monaco.

His performances were enough to secure him a place in the team of the tournament and earn him a call up to the Portuguese national team for Euro 2004. Once again he was deemed first choice there too as the Seleccao made it to the final, only to be beaten in the final by Greece on home turf.

Carvalho started all six of Portugal’s games, reuniting with Andrade in defence, and he made it into the UEFA team of the tournament, while also finishing ninth in the Ballon d’Or voting for 2004 and being the only defender to finish in the top ten.

He earned himself a big money move to Chelsea that summer, following Mourinho to his next destination. It was there where he formed his most famous partnership alongside Mr. Chelsea, John Terry. Together they were the mainstays in a defence that conceded just 15 goals across the entire league campaign as they won the title, a record that still stands to this day.

The following season they conceded just 22 times as they lifted the title a second time the following year, with Carvalho once again a star. He went on to feature 210 times for the Blues, winning three Premier League titles and two League Cups during his six seasons before opting for a move to Real Madrid – who were managed by Mourinho.

Once again he stepped into the team as a level headed, dominant defender and formed a great partnership alongside Portuguese national team colleague Pepe. In his first season with the club he was indispensable as Madrid won the Copa Del Rey, featuring 48 times across all competitions. In his second year he was first-choice until picking up an injury that kept him out of action.

During that spell Sergio Ramos moved to centre-back, where he would go on to become one of the best ever, and Carvalho lost his place at Madrid from that point onwards. Los Blancos won La Liga in record-breaking fashion that year, before he eventually moved on to Monaco to see out his career.

But during his time in France, he is more remembered for making a return to the national team to win Euro 2016. He started all three group games before being dropped for the knockout stages and his experience and leadership were credited largely within the squad, as the country won their first ever major international honour, beating host nation France in the final in extra time.

A phenomenal defender in his prime he was the perfect foil for his partners. Intelligent and dripping with technique and finesse, Carvalho was also always strong enough physically to never be bullied. He had pace to win foot races, a picture perfect slide tackle and a will to win.

Without a doubt one of the best defenders of his generation, Carvalho will go down as one of his nations best ever and a legend at two different clubs. Remember his greatness.

Real Madrid bringing back Carlo Ancelotti is bizarre

Real Madrid have made yet another shocking move in the managerial world after they made Carlo Ancelotti their new manager once again.

Ancelotti was the manager of Los Blancos between 2013 and 2015 winning a Copa Del Rey, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and Club World Cup during his time at the club.

He left after finishing as runner up to an MSN-led Barcelona in La Liga, with president Florentino Perez claiming the decision was made “with a heavy heart”.

But after a spell with Bayern Munich and then 18 months with Everton, Ancelotti has seemingly shown the Madrid board enough that they’re willing to bring him back to replace recently departed boss Zinedine Zidane.

Zizou served as Ancelotti’s assistant as Madrid lifted ‘La Decima’ and the Frenchman credited the former Milan and Juventus boss for teaching him a lot. But considering recent campaigns, the decision to bring Ancelotti back seems very rushed and bizarre.

He’s hardly lit the Premier League up since joining the Toffees, leading them to a 12th and 10th placed finish in his one-and-a-half seasons with the club. He’s developed some good talent while there, with the likes of Dominic Calvert-Lewin shining since his arrival while others like defender Ben Godfrey has really improved his all-round game.

But other than a few stand-out performers and some big spending, Ancelotti has barely improved the side.

They didn’t play particularly attractive football, didn’t earn European football during his time at the club and hardly stood out in a league full of top coaches. His in-game management has always left plenty to be desired and now it seems as though it’s his cup competition pedigree that has attracted Perez back to him.

Real Madrid Celebration After UEFA Champions League Final : News Photo

He’s one of only two managers, along with Zidane, to win the Champions League three times and with Madrid so hell-bent on bringing the trophy back to the club it seems like he’s just decided to go with what he knows already.

But with Madrid struggling so much financially, it’s unlikely there will be any sort of rebuild this summer or in the near future. That means Ancelotti will be forced to just deal with the squad he has currently, which is not the best.

Several key players will be 30 or over this summer while the futures of Eden Hazard, Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane are still up in the air.

Without investment it’s really tough to see how the squad can improve on last season’s performances, despite ending the year trophyless.

With Ancelotti going to sign a three-year contract, it seems as though Real Madrid are putting their eggs into his basket in the hope of one last big push to end his career and get them back to the top of the game while the rest of Europe undergo a big transition period.

Risky, bizarre and just weird. But it’s happening. Carlo Ancelotti is the new Real Madrid manager, again.

What’s Eduardo Camavinga’s best move this summer?

One of the hottest young talents in world football looks set to move clubs this summer, as Eduardo Camavinga enters the final year of his contract.

The 18-year old midfielder has been brilliant for Ligue 1 side Rennes since breaking into the first-team setup at just 16 back in 2019. The rangy, defensive midfielder has attracted interest from some of the top clubs in the world and Rennes have slapped a €100m price tag on his head.

That hasn’t kept the vultures from circling, with PSG, Real Madrid, Manchester United and Chelsea all still interested in a potential deal this summer. But which move is best for the young midfielder?

According to reports, the player is most interested in a move to the French capital. Paris Saint-Germain are crying out for a proper midfield, with Marco Verratti the only option with genuine quality on the ball.

For a squad so expensively assembled, having options including Ander Herrera, Danilo, Idrissa Gueye and Julian Draxler just isn’t acceptable for a team chasing European glory. Camavinga would add brilliance on the ball and some great defensive solidity too, as well as an extra superstar name with youth too.

Real Madrid are also in need of freshening up the midfield. Luka Modric has agreed a new one-year contract with the club but is 36-years-old and has only got so much left in the tank, while Toni Kroos is in his thirties and Casemiro will turn 30 during the season too.

The issue for the La Liga side is that they are severely lacking in cash for transfers. Their desperation for the European Super League says it all and while they’re likely to make a lot of sales this summer, it won’t be enough to secure the funds for all the deals they want to pursue. Unfortunately for them, Zidane’s decision to leave will also make them that little bit less attractive with young French talent too and a deal seems unlikely to happen.

There is also the option for a move to the Premier League, with reports that Manchester United are interested in signing him.

With Paul Pogba’s future up in the air as he enters the final 12 months of his contract, the rangy midfielder is seen as an ideal replacement should the World Cup winner end up leaving Old Trafford. The likelihood however is that even if Pogba does leave, there are clubs in better positions who would be interested and signing for United would be a big gamble for the player.

It seems as though the most ideal situation for Camavinga is the move to PSG, but with a €100m price tag with just one year left on his contract he may be forced to wait to make it.

It’s unlikely anyone will agree to pay that amount and whether Rennes would rather lose him for free is unknown, but the player has made it clear to the club that he will not be signing a renewal under any circumstances.

The decision ultimately comes down to how serious Rennes are about their price tag and how stubborn they really want to be. But for Camavinga, he’d be pretty silly to go anywhere but PSG at this point too.

Zinedine Zidane resigns as Real Madrid boss as Max Allegri returns to Juventus

The European managerial merry-go-round has begun.

As the season comes to an end, the biggest clubs in Europe are making the tough decisions that can break or break the new season and it turns out that the heavyweights want change this summer.

After Antonio Conte resigned as manager of Inter Milan, he has been followed by Zinedine Zidane at Real Madrid who officially resigned for the second time with a year left on his contract.

It had been widely expected that Zidane was going to walk away from Madrid again, as he oversaw a trophyless season with the club. He took the La Liga title race all the way to the final day, where Atletico Madrid’s victory meant they claimed the title.

He also took them to the Champions League semi-finals, where they couldn’t overcome a solid Chelsea side and were dumped out following defeat at Stamford Bridge in the second leg. But with so many injuries throughout the season and the club struggling financially, he wasn’t able to get the squad he was promised and has decided to call it a day with no sign of change this summer.

It was believed he was going to be replaced by Max Allegri, who had been without a job for two seasons after leaving Juventus following five consecutive Serie A titles. However, it was revealed on Thursday that Allegri is in fact set to return to Juventus, with the Turin side deciding to sack Andrea Pirlo.

Former midfielder Pirlo was originally hired as the youth team coach, but was promptly promoted once Maurizio Sarri was sacked last summer after winning the league. Despite his legendary status and strong squad, Juventus only finished fourth on the final day when Napoli failed to win allowing the Bianconeri to leapfrog them in the table.

While Pirlo was hopeful of staying, the decision was taken away from him and it seems now that Allegri will return and be given the keys to the rebuild that the club will undertake.

It means that Real Madrid will likely turn their attention to Conte now that he is a free agent. Conte previously almost joined Madrid back in 2018 when Zidane left the first time, but the club in the end went for Julen Lopetegui and we all know how that went.

There is also the chance that the club could go for Mauricio Pochettino, the current PSG manager. After failing to win Ligue 1, it’s believed that he is considering his future at the club after signing an 18-month contract in January of this year.

It was believed that his position could be under threat, but reports in France suggest they are keen to keep him for the upcoming season but he could be tempted to leave with his former club Tottenham Hotspur also back in the race for him.

It’s said that Spurs are confident they could strike a deal with PSG and Pochettino to bring him back to north London less than two years after sacking him. It seems as though both parties are open to making it happen, but PSG aren’t the most keen.

If Spurs and Pochettino were to push for it though, they could look to try and bring Zidane as a replacement. A French legend with plenty of success in Europe as a player and a coach, Zizou could be the perfect answer to the managerial position should it become available.

It’s a managerial merry-go-round in Europe, with the top clubs making big changes at the top. There’s a big summer incoming and there are plenty of twists and turns coming.