Real Madrid: Six unwanted records from a disastrous season
After a season that brought no major trophies, AS English looks over some of the negative pieces of history made by Real Madrid.
Sunday's meek surrender to Real Betis was the final sad act in what has been a truly miserable season for Real Madrid - a campaign in which Los Blancos failed to lift any major silverware for the first time in four years and, in the process, claimed a good few unwanted records.
Here are six such entries in the Madrid annals of ignominy:
Record distance behind Barcelona
Madrid may have been the dominant European force of the past decade, but in Spain they have been utterly outstripped by Barcelona. While Los Merengues have just two LaLiga titles to their name since 2008, Barça's championship win this term saw them extend their recent haul to a mightily impressive eight out of the last 11. And Madrid's failure to compete on the league stage has been more pronounced than ever this year: the defeat to Betis, which was their 12th Primera División loss of the season, saw them finish an unprecedented 19 points behind the Blaugrana.
First time Zidane has lost consecutive LaLiga games
In the wake of Julen Lopetegui and Santiago Solari's fruitless stints in charge, Zinedine Zidane's re-appointment as Madrid boss in March immediately lifted the gloom enveloping the club. However, this state of optimism proved short-lived: in what has been an arduous, damaging end-of-season period for Zidane, neither results nor performances have improved since he returned to the Bernabéu dugout. In the process of losing four out of 11 under 'Zizou', Madrid have not won once on the road, and Sunday's reverse on home turf was the first time the Frenchman has lost back-to-back LaLiga games as a coach.
2 - Zinedine Zidane has lost two consecutive LaLiga games as manager for the first time. Collapse. pic.twitter.com/EoDCcBKCNw— OptaJose (@OptaJose) 19 May 2019
Fewest LaLiga goals since 1999/2000
Having flogged 50-a-season striker Cristiano Ronaldo to Juventus and not even come close to filling the void left by the Portuguese, it hardly seems surprising that Madrid's struggles this year have largely come down to their extreme goal-shyness. Their meagre LaLiga total of 63 pales in comparison to Barça's 90, and is their lowest for nearly two decades: not since they mustered just 58 in the 1999/2000 league season (when an eighth European title rescued a campaign in which they came fifth, finishing behind Real Zaragoza) have they scored so few in Primera.
Most blanks since early 1993/94
Further evidence of Madrid's inability to bother the onion bag this season can be found in the fact that the game against Betis was the ninth occasion on which they drew a blank in the league in 2018/19. Taking all competitions into account, moreover, that number rises to 13. In both cases, the last time the capital club failed to find the net in so many games came back in 1993/94.
Lowest average attendance in two decades
Madrid's season began with a home attendance of 48,446 that was a 10-year record low, and set the tone for a campaign whose disastrous results have been accompanied by similarly desultory gates. On Sunday, the thoroughly paltry total of 56,900 that filed into the 81,000-capacity Bernabéu was not all that far off being representative of a season that has yielded an average attendance of just 61,020 in LaLiga. Madrid have not struggled so badly to get bums on seats since 1999/2000, when they averaged 57,500.
One shy of highest total of LaLiga defeats
It is only the seventh time in their history that Madrid have been beaten on a dozen occasions throughout the course of a LaLiga campaign, although this total of league losses isn't their worst ever - just. The 13 reverses they suffered in 1973/74 remains their largest haul.
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