The challenge for Zidane: become first Madrid manager to win at Camp Nou since Mourinho
The Portuguese was the last man to guide Los Blancos to victory over Los Culés in their own backyard. Since he left Madrid have won one of their 11 La Liga games against Barca and Atleti.
Zinedine Zidane is bracing himself for his first trip to the Camp Nou as Real Madrid boss and will be hoping to take up the torch from José Mourinho. The Portuguese tinkerman was the last Real Madrid manager to record a victory at Barcelona’s home ground, a win that came during the 2012-13 season at the semi-final stage of the Copa del Rey. Los Merengues stamped their authority over their arch rivals with a 1-3 triumph, having drawn (1-1) in the first leg at the Bernabéu. Mourinho was also the last Madrid manager to pick up three La Liga points in the Barca’s habitat: beating Pep Guardiola’s side 1-2 during the 2011-12 season. That was a key win on the road to Madrid achieving a record points tally. However, those games now seem like a very long time ago for a Real Madrid support base in desperate need of a pick-me-up.
The Frenchman is faced with an enormous challenge as he travels to the Catalan capital. In just three months of top-level management he now takes on the league leaders who boast a ten-point lead over his side and have gone 39 games unbeaten. And whatever happens he then has to cope with a quick turnaround in order to prepare for next Wednesday’s Champions League clash against Wolfsburg. History does not favour the former Castilla coach. Ever since the 2008-09 season, every Madrid manager has come a cropper in his inaugural Camp Nou test (see table below). The last Los Blancos manager to come away from his Camp Nou debut with a win was Bernd Schuster (0-1) during the 2007-08 season.
Real Madrid managerial debuts at the Camp Nou
While winning La Liga is now well beyond his grasp, Zidane knows full well that a Clásico victory would act as a huge moral boost for his team as they aspire to lift an eleventh Champions League title. A win on Saturday would also allow Zizou to hold his head a bit higher after having lost to Simeone’s Atleti in the Madrid derby. Since Mourinho’s departure Madrid have only won one of their eleven La Liga encounters against Atlético and Barcelona.
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