Zinedine Zidane's return to Real Madrid could prompt mass Bernabeu clear-out

The news that Florentino Perez allegedly blew his top at Sergio Ramos in the Real Madrid dressing room in the wake of their Champions League defeat to Ajax should come as no surprise.

After all, when things start to go pear shaped at the Santiago Bernabeu, if there’s one man who absolves himself of all blame, it’s the president.

As powerful as one man can be, Perez has his stooges in the media who perpetuate the narrative that he’s still the best man for the top job.

Only now, with no silverware likely for another season under his presidency, the weight of public opinion is beginning to shift.

Though Real may be christened as the ‘best team in the world,’ they’ve been anything but in 2018/19, and Perez has to accept his fair share of responsibility.

After all, it was his decision to sack Julen Lopetegui after just a few months, despite noting in the summer that he was ‘absolutely the right man for the job.’

Bringing in Santiago Solari seemed to be a sensible move, but there was always a question mark regarding just how good he really was at the top level of management when the going got tough.

Now we have our answer. Not very good at all.

With Solari out and Zinedine Zidane back, we are expecting serious changes at the Bernabeu this summer.

Zidane has wasted no time bringing new players in, signing Eder Militao from Porto for €50m. But what about players leaving?

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Gareth Bale is the most obvious.

The bond between player and club is broken and the Welshman is making no attempt to hide his contempt, as witnessed by his ‘sleeve cutter’ celebration.

Expected to be the main man when Cristiano Ronaldo moved to Italy, Bale has been anything but. Aside from a couple of moments where he’s lit up the Santiago Bernabeu, he’s done little of note.

Marco Asensio, once the darling of the terraces, has been out of favour for a while now, and he too could be a surprise exit, given that the form which propelled him to a starting spot under Zidane appears to have all but deserted him.

A lack of confidence has underscored his most recent performances, and with nowhere close to enough goals to justify his continued inclusion, Los Blancos should look to cash in whilst they still can.

Of course, Zidane’s return will give him a second chance – he was excellent under the Frenchman during his first spell – but Real cannot afford to wait too long for him to rediscover his best form.

An unwanted striking hat-trick could occur if Karim Benzema is allowed to leave. There’s nothing at this stage to suggest that either player or club want a parting of the ways, but the Frenchman hasn’t exactly covered himself in glory either in 2018/19.

One of Perez’s favourites, it would be difficult for the president to renege on any deal he has with the striker, but with Vinicius finding his feet and Rodrygo on the way in the summer, there’s an argument that the aging Benzema could be surplus to requirements.

Both captain, Ramos, and vice-captain, Marcelo could also head out.

The Brazilian is being courted by Juventus, and with no realistic chance of winning back his place from Sergio Reguilon, moving to Italy for a final big payday is a worthwhile option.

That’s more than enough players to lose in one big clear out, but there’ll be at least one, possibly two or three more.

Luka Modric could finally make the move to Inter that almost came to fruition last summer, and Keylor Navas has already intimated at how fed up he is playing second fiddle to Thibaut Courtois.

As the old saying goes, desperate times call for desperate measures, and if Florentino wants to hang around for a few more years yet, then the axe must come down hard.

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