Zinedine Zidane seen on the touchline, (c) Real Madrid Twitter.

Real Madrid boss plans forward without five key players in his mind

Real Madrid head coach Zinedin Zidane will not count upon as many as five players from his first-team roster for the season’s remainder.

Real Madrid sit second in La Liga as the Whites remain high in their hopes of defending the championship. After making a slightly turbulent start to the season, Zinedine Zidane seems to have steadied the ship which has now remained unbeaten for eight matches in a row. The manager seems to have found the bunch of players who exactly suit his tactics.

Diario GOL claims that the Frenchman will be planning for the remaining half of the season without five key players, at least as far as the La Liga campaign and Champions League knockout phases are concerned. Isco, Alvaro Odriozola, Eder Militao, Luka Jovic and Andriy Lunin all form part of the blacklist noted down by the manager.

Isco was one of the most important players in Zidane’s first reign as manager. The Spanish midfielder was used more often than not, thanks to his dribbling capabilities which seem to have been lost since a long while. Zidane did state that he was not giving enough chances to Isco, but with the players he currently has, it is difficult to lend any borrowed time.

Arsenal were among those who were interested in signing him this month, but the Whites are refusing to sell any players in January which means Isco could get his opportunities in the Copa del Rey. Needless to say, he certainly does not have a long-term future at the Santiago Bernabeu and seeing his drop in quality, it is tough to see him joining a club of similar calibre.

Odriozola meanwhile has appeared just once this season, playing under one hour of football. The right-back also seems to have lost his prominence under the coach as he has preferred to use Lucas Vazquez in the right-back’s slot. Odriozola did go to Bayern Munich on loan last winter but he may have to settle for a lower graded club this time around.

Eder Militao’s case is one of the curious ones at Madrid. Zidane showed immense faith in the former Porto centre-back but ever since he was infected with coronavirus in November, the Brazilian is yet to make an appearance. Nacho has been favoured over him for the last two months and only time will tell what happens with the 50-million-euro signing.

Jovic meanwhile never seemed to have caught Zidane’s eye even in the first season. The Serbian’s minutes have been numbered this time around too and as a matter of fact, Mariano Diaz, now seems to have relegated him to becoming third-choice this season. He too was linked with a loan switch this month, but nothing has materialized so far.

Zidane’s list closes with Andriy Lunin, who has been named backup for Thibaut Courtois this season. The Ukrainian was signed in 2017 as part of Madrid’s project to build a younger side, but to no avail so far as he is yet to make a single appearance this season. Given how well Courtois is playing and how less experience Lunin has, he wouldn’t find too many minutes.

Which of the five listed players should Real Madrid sell off permanently or loan, according to you?