If Zinedine Zidane thought he would get very different reception from Rafa Benitez when he was named the Real Madrid manager, then he is just about to find out the bitter truth on Saturday.
Barcelona host their arch-rivals in the 330th El Classico and they couldn’t have been facing the European champions at a worse time. The Blancos are 10 points adrift of Barca with only eight games left, and they know it is near impossible to overturn the tide even if they win at Nou Camp this weekend.
For Zidane, he has and will probably enjoy a bit more patience from the trigger happy Florentino Perez if they lose to Barca and end the season without a trophy, but it wouldn’t be for long.
His appointment was obviously done with Pep Guardiola in mind – the Real hierarchy hoping he will turn out to be their own version of the Bayern Munich boss – but Real Madrid is no Barcelona and Zidane will find that out sooner rather than later – unless of course he goes on an incredible trophy run.
While the game against Barca on Saturday may not directly impact his future at the club, it sure may have some effect in the long run if results afterwards do not improve and the only reason that may be the case is simply because he is Zinedine Zidane – club legend and former world footballer of the year – if he doubts it, he should ask his predecessor, Benitez.
Even if Real hit an incredible form this weekend and beat Barcelona at the Nou Camp, it is unlikely to change anything seeing as the Blaugrana will still be seven points ahead with seven games to go.
It is not inconceivable to see him leading his charges to win in Catalonia, but he will surely need more than that to remain in charge of the biggest club in the world.