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Zidane against Koeman, clasico with a view on the title


Real Madrid host FC Barcelona this Saturday. A shock that should be decisive in the race for the title in La Liga.

Zinédine Zidane and Ronald Koeman started the season with difficulty but the two coaches raised the bar to afford a Real-Barça shock decisive for the La Liga title on Saturday (9 p.m.) in Madrid, where Barcelona hope not to live the last clasico of Lionel Messi.

If this new episode of the more than a hundred year old rivalry between the two great of Spain has so much accounting stake, it is because neither "Zizou" nor "Tintin" (the nickname of Koeman) gave up afterwards. a complicated fall.

Here they are battling for the title while the Blaugrana club (2nd, 65 pts) and its rival Merengue (3rd, 63 pts) follow behind an Atlético Madrid (1st, 66 pts) in decline and opposed Sunday to the Betis Sevilla.

In nine months at Barcelona, ​​Koeman achieved the feat of straightening out a team in crisis and putting a smile back on Messi's smile, yet eager to leave last summer and still silent on his future two months away from the end of his contract in June.

Zidane, he has remade Real a ruthless winning machine, on the way to finding the semi-finals of the Champions League after taming Tuesday Liverpool in the quarter-final first leg (3-1) before the second round next Wednesday.

But on Saturday night in Madrid, this 246th clasico in history will not be classic.

“The most important game in the world,” as striker Karim Benzema defined in a LaLiga interview on Thursday, will be played for the first time on the lawn of the small Alfredo Di Stéfano training stadium in Valdebebas.

And without an audience, for the second time in history, after the first leg won 3-1 by Real in an empty Camp Nou on October 24.

Karim Benzema: "It's the biggest match in the world"

"Duel of blackboards"

Despite the camera, the most watched club match in the world (650 million potential viewers, according to LaLiga) remains a “blockbuster” of which Zidane and Koeman are the impeccable directors.

"Duel of blackboards", headlined in its One Sport this Friday.

"The clasico will see the battle between Koeman and Zidane, two coaches who have spectacular records in the second half of the championship", enthuses the Catalan daily.

Hired last summer after the ouster of Quique Setién in the hope of starting a new cycle at Barça, Ronald Koeman had to revive the Barcelona machine while calming the desire to leave Lionel Messi.

Double challenge succeeded: nine months later, the Dutch technician can boast of being in contention for a Liga-Copa del Rey double;

to have found his favorite system with three central defenders and his eleven holder with Antoine Griezmann and Ousmane Dembélé in attack.

And above all, to have succeeded in retaining the Argentine superstar and legend of the club "Leo" Messi, now more inclined according to the press to extend in his heart club.

This would prevent the top scorer in the history of Real-Barça confrontations (26 goals) from playing his very last clasico behind closed doors in a small rural enclosure on the outskirts of Madrid.

With Pique and Hazard?

For his part, Zidane has shone with his serenity this season, as always.

Unwavering in the squalls that agitated the "White House" in December, he led his Real to a current series of twelve consecutive games without defeat in all competitions.

The Catalans have not lost in La Liga since mid-December, and have since posted an impressive total of 16 wins and 3 draws in their last 19 La Liga games.

Either one of the best results in Europe in 2021. But despite these favorable dynamics, injuries are piling up in both camps.

On the Catalan side, Koeman did not want to rush the returns of Gerard Pique and Sergi Roberto on Monday against Valladolid (1-0).

Pique trained normally with the rest of the squad on Thursday.

But Koeman could save him to ensure his presence in the Copa del Rey final in a week (April 17) against Athletic Bilbao.

On the merengue side, Zidane still cannot count on his captain and central defender Sergio Ramos.

And the presence of Belgian striker Eden Hazard, plagued by injuries, is very uncertain.

This is to say if the choices of Zinédine Zidane and Ronald Koeman will weigh heavily in this clasico, and therefore in the outcome of La Liga.

Read also

  • Liga standings

Source: lefigaro

All sports articles on 2021-04-09

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