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Closing ranks: Zidane and his squad in it till the end


The month of January passed and Zidane imposed his criterion: no one has arrived or left. As he has previously insisted, he will end the season with the same players he started it with, a group he says he feels happy with. I don't know if it's exactly like that, however, given how little he uses some of the squad, and for this reason it may have been better for some to leave. Llorente, is one example, and someone who has drawn interest from several clubs. But Zidane values the togetherness of the unit above everything else. Of all the Primera División sides, Madrid is the only team without any changes. Zidane even resisted his club's attempt to bring in Kepa Arrizabalaga, who went as far as having a medical, although this has now been denied.

Zinedine Zidane looks to draw on the strength of a settled unit.
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Zinedine Zidane looks to draw on the strength of a settled unit.FELIPE SEVILLANODIARIO AS

Champions League rivals strengthen

The vast majority of their rivals in the Champions League have been strengthened. The exceptions to this are Juventus, Roma and Napoli. The other twelve have made interesting additions. Mourinho brought in Alexis; Guardiola, Laporte; Emery has propped up his midfield with our old acquaintance Lass Diarra; Pochettino picked up Lucas Moura... And Barça, of course, with Coutinho and Yerry Mina. Some teams have offloaded their deadwood and signed someone to complete what they already had, or covered a deficiency in a particular area, to compensate for an injury, to add balance...

New options | Barcelona's Brazilian midfielder Philippe Coutinho.
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New options | Barcelona's Brazilian midfielder Philippe Coutinho.LLUIS GENEAFP

Madrid closing ranks to the end

The firmness of Zidane and his idea, his persistence with the group, is striking. An old football saying prescribes that every team, no matter how good it may have been, needs to be freshened up to stay competitive. But Madrid has approached this season with the same starters as before, and it does not appear to be going well. Yesterday on Twitter, Illgner was surprised that a striker had not arrived to create competition for Benzema, who begins the second half of LaLiga with two goals. Zidane is taking a risk with his decision, with his unfaltering backing to all involved, his starting XI and their substitutes, with whom it is now decided: by closing ranks, they will make the final journey together.