Real Madrid’s exit in the Copa del Rey last season fuelled part of Zinedine Zidane’s desire to leave the club.
According to Marca, Zidane realised after the quarter-final defeat to Leganes that the senior team “needed new scenarios if they wanted to develop”.
That same team went on to win the Champions League, of course, but we’re seeing signs this season that Zidane was right.
Los Blancos, managed by Julen Lopetegui, are seventh in La Liga and haven’t won a league match in over a month.
They could do with a new lease of life in the squad and the hope is that 18-year-old Vinicius Junior will one day provide it.
Real signed the highly-rated Brazilian from Flamengo for £38.7 million in a deal that was reached in 2017.
Most of his playing time has come for Castilla, Real Madrid’s B team, which is understandable given his age.
Vinicius' special treatment
He’s clearly viewed very highly at the Bernabeu, with the latest reports from Spain highlighting a case of special treatment.
Vinicius scored and was sent off while playing for the B team in a 1-1 draw against Celta Vigo on Sunday.
The forward had flown out to Vigo after learning he wouldn’t be used by Lopetegui for the first team game against Levante on Saturday.
The teenager then returned to Madrid by air - something some of his teammates have since been fined for.
Five players in the team - Zidane’s son Luca, Franchu, Alex Martin, Dani Gomez and Cristo - have been fined after flying home instead of travelling back on the team coach.
Members of the squad had asked if it would be possible to fly to Celta instead of travelling via coach, which would take six hours.
Their request was denied though, according to Marca.
But the aforementioned players decided to fly home to their families, purchasing tickets back to Madrid out of their own pocket, and have since been punished.
Coach Santiago Solari called the squad together on Monday and reprimanded the quintet.
Players are allowed to return home after matches in and around Madrid but the expectation was for them to travel as a group to Vigo.
Except for Vinicius, who flew home. Wonder how that went down with his teammates.