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Zidane’s Real Madrid era hangs in balance

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Real Madrid “see the end of the Zinedine Zidane era” but do not want to replace him as manager until the summer, says Spanish football expert Guillem Balague.

The Spanish champions were humiliatingly knocked out of the Copa del Rey in the last 32 by third division Alcoyano on Wednesday.

Newspaper AS called it “one of the most embarrassing pages in Real’s history”.

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“Their idea is to take a big decision after the season,” said Balague.

“Zidane has come back from the brink several times before, even this campaign, but the team seems to have hit a wall.”

The 2-1 defeat by Alcoyano, who played the final 10 minutes of extra time with 10 men, was the latest worrying result for Real.

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Zidane returned last season and guided them to a first league title in three years, having previously led them to three consecutive Champions League successes, one league title, two Club World Cups and two Uefa Super Cups in his first spell in charge.

But this season they are four points behind leaders Atletico Madrid – who have two games in hand – and looked less than convincing during the Champions League group stage.—BBC

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