Few jobs in world sport come with as much pressure as being the manager of Real Madrid.
It’s a role in which anything but victory is considered failure and a string of poor results can be catastrophic.
Zinedine Zidane is becoming acutely aware of this notion despite winning consecutive Champions League titles in his first two seasons at the Santiago Bernabeu.
The Frenchman was never going to be capable of sustaining such an incredible start to his career on the touchline, but surely nobody can claim they saw his stature crumbling this soon.
With that said, Jose Mourinho is the only man to survive for at least three seasons since Vicente del Bosque faced the axe in 2003.
Even with a third Champions League crown still up for grabs, Zidane isn’t expected to be in charge of Los Blancos next season, such is the humiliation of being 20 points behind Barcelona in La Liga.
Some are surprised the legendary midfielder has made it this far, though perhaps that’s because his future has already been decided one way or the other.
Speaking at a media conference on Saturday, Zidane offered the most telling insight yet into the prospect of him staying on.
"[In football management] there is a lot of fatigue, even more in Real Madrid," he said, per ESPN.
"Of course a moment can come when there are changes, but for all of us, not just the coach. Not yet, but it will happen for sure.
"For me the most important thing is still the day to day work, I want to finish this season, there are things to play for – that is all that interests me. I do not want to talk about anything else."
If tiredness is his primary concern at this stage of the campaign, Zidane can look forward to having five very winnable matches act as padding between now and his next major test.
Madrid face Real Betis, Leganes, Alaves, Espanyol and Getafe before travelling to France for the second leg of their Champions League tie against Paris Saint-Germain on March 6.
It’s an ideal run of fixtures during what could be a crucial period of the season, but should it all go wrong instead, Zidane might soon have all the time he needs to catch up on lost sleep.
Should Zidane still be in charge of Real Madrid next season? Let us know what you think in the comments.
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