REAL MADRID

Mateo Kovacic, Real's forgotten man under Zidane

The Croatia midfielder has played just 309 minutes since the Frenchman took over, 21.66 percent of the available pitch time.

Mateo Kovacic, Real's forgotten man under Zidane

Mateo Kovacic is in with a chance of getting on to the pitch against Rayo Vallecano in the absence of Casemiro and Cristiano Ronaldo, Real manager Zinedine Zidane will have to shuffle his pack in Vallecas but it remains to be seen if Kovacic will get the nod or start on the bench, where he has spent most of his time under the Frenchman’s tenure. In total, Kovacic has only played 309 of a possible 1,800 minutes for Zidane (21.66 percent) while under Rafa Benítez in the first half of the season he featured in 902 of a possible 2,250, or 40.08 percent.

Kovacic does enjoy a curious statistic; he has featured in 22 league games this season, in which Real have won 16, drawn five and lost only once, against Villarreal. Under Zidane, though, he has only started twice.

Kovacic’s numbers on the pitch are cause for concern for his manager. Against Málaga, he lost possession 15 times from a total of only 47 passes, and against Las Palmas in March he took a cross field free kick that missed his teammates completely and fell to Momo, who launched the move that resulted in the equalizer.

Since then, Kovacic has played just 37 minutes, against Eibar, being left out of the match day squad on four occasions from seven. In the last two games against Getafe and Villarreal he made the bench but he hasn’t been called upon in an away game since his gaffe in Las Palmas.