With Real Madrid 19 points behind La Liga leaders Barcelona and unceremoniously dumped out of the Copa del Rey by lowly Leganes, the pressure has been cranking up on manager Zinedine Zidane for some time now.
After Saturday’s 2-2 Liga draw with Levante – a result that left Zizou “disgusted” – it has become clear that only one thing can save Zidane from the Bernabeu axe: win the Uefa Champions League.
Their domestic campaign is already over and they may not even automatically qualify for next season’s version of Europe’s elite tournament – Villarreal are only two points behind them in fifth place.
They could ensure their participation in the 2018-19 edition by retaining the trophy, and that could be the only way Zidane will be in the Real hot seat next season.
Only, there is one tiiiiiny problem looming on the horizon – Paris St-Germain and star man Neymar are standing in their way in the last 16. No bother, eh?
They face the French big-spenders on Valentine’s Day, February 14, in the first leg in Madrid and anything other than victory over the two matches is pretty much guaranteed to spell the end of Zidane’s long-standing romance with Real as both a player and coach.
And I’m sure Barcelona would allow themselves a wry smile if it is their former player Neymar that does the damage.