When Real Madrid romped to a 5-1 aggregate win over Barcelona in the Spanish Super Cup in mid-August, things were looking bright for Los Blancos ahead of the new campaign.
Defending European champions and red-hot title favourites following Neymar's departure from the Camp Nou, that was about as good as it's been for Zinedine Zidane in recent months.
dabblebet go 25/1 (26.0) that Cristiano Ronaldo, who has cut an increasingly frustrated figure of late, replaces Zidane on a permanent basis.
As the price suggests, this is a relative longshot as there is no suggestion the Portugal international is set to give up his playing career to pursue a role on the sidelines just yet, but the fact that replacing the current coach is even a remote possibility shows quite how far Madrid have fallen since the summer.
The 45-year-old has plenty of credit in the bank of course, having overseen a trophy glut since taking over as manager. Zidane has led his side to a league title as well as two European successes plus several other pieces of silverware but the wheels are in danger of coming off at the Bernabeu.
At a club where success is not just expected, it's demanded, there are plenty of questions to answer this season.
A 1-0 defeat to Villarreal at the weekend leaves Madrid a staggering 19 points behind Barca (1/50) in the title race and they are by no means assured of second place either, such is their poor run of form combined with solid showings from both Atletico Madrid (22/1) and Valencia (100/1). The Yellow Submarine winning in the Spanish capital has also seen them to go to within a point of the top four with Sevilla just two points back in sixth spot.
Los Blancos sit 10 points off their city rivals who occupy second place in the table, while Marcelino García Toral's side are eight better off than the reigning champions who are now 40/1 (41.0) in the outright market at the half way stage of the campaign. Even with the resources at Zidane's disposal, a top four spot is not a given at this stage and that would be an unthinkable result.
What's more, finishing second in their Champions League group behind Tottenham has ensured a nightmare last 16 showdown with former tournament favourites Paris Saint-Germain in the last 16 and dabblebet make Zidane's side 8/1 (9.0) to defend their crown this season.
There is the option to bolster their star-studded squad in the January transfer window of course but it is Barcelona who have been making waves in that regard, securing the services of Philippe Coutinho from Liverpool in a deal reportedly worth around £146m.DABBLE
While Madrid are still live contenders to win Europe’s premier club competition, on the domestic front they are certainly in danger of missing out on qualification for next year’s edition on current form and it will be interesting to see how the club's hierarchy attempt to rectify the alarming slump at the Bernabeu.
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