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LaLiga SmartBank

Madrid's players' emotional roller-coaster this season

Gareth Bale has done himself little favours with his comments claiming that top players are treated like robots. Bale as a football player is hugely dependent on his coach, his preferences, playing style, whims and phobias. A player is at the beck and call of his head coach and this season at Real Madrid has been a veritable laboratory which illustrates this point. The same footballers have gone from being reserves to guaranteed first team regulars and visa versa according to the incumbent of the Santiago Bernabéu bench... Julen Lopetegui, Santiago Solari or Zinedine Zidane. This has been an authentic roller-coaster this season at the Chamartin based outfit for the bulk of the squad.

GARETH BALE

Karma chameleon

Let's break this down: Keylor was used on occasion by Lopetegui, almost ignored by Solari and is first choice keeper for Zidane. The reverse situation was experienced by Courtois. Marcelo was a regular starter for Lopetegui and Zidane but resigned to the subs bench under Solari. Reguilón experienced the polar opposite only being given constant playing time under Solari, the same thing happened with Llorente, which was the opposite of Casemiro, who was a regular under Lopetegui and Zidane. Ceballos played sporadically under the Baqsue and Argentine but was doomed to a superfluous role under Zidane. Bale was a regular under Lopetegui, played at times under Solari and exiled under Zidane. Isco was one of Lopetegui's favourites, was frozen out during Solari's tenure and picked up some game time under Zidane. Vinicius was ignored by Lopetegui, made his breakthrough under Solari and has been used sparingly by Zidane. Brahim joined the club in January with little or no action under Solari whereas he has been a key player for Zidane.

ZIDANE

Unpredictability

I reiterate, same season and same players. On occasion there have been mitigating circumstances such as Isco's lengthy absence after his appendix operation but I'm sure you can appreciate my point. The same players with their levels of ability and contribution can be used as regulars of doomed to the bench or completely left out of squad selections. There have been a handful of players who have been regulars all season, occasional substitutes and a few players have been resigned to a bit-part role all season. The situation at Madrid this season is revealing in just how complex things can be for a top level professional player. Well paid...indeed but subject to the whims of those in charge contributing to an emotional roller-coaster in which the individual has little control of. Look at Reguilón: what more can the guy have done to secure more regular playing time?