38 games and 38 lineups

Zidane is like a supermodel in this Real Madrid, with a vast wardrobe at his disposal. It has a host of top-quality variants, options for a gala night in Paris or Manchester and possibilities for yet another homecoming encounter in Spain. In the League it is where he has most combined his pieces, with 38 different lineups in 38 days since his return, on March 11, 2019.

Zizou accumulates 38 games, a League, without repeating eleven. It is the data that best reflects the regenerating air that the Frenchman puts into his dressing room, faithful to democratizing the minutes, that they reach every member of the team. It is not a coincidence for the coach, who is usually heard at press conferences. that tagline of the “headache” that supposes the distribution of protagonism. On this return to competition, with the starting gun next Sunday against Eibar (19:30, Movistar LaLiga) at Alfredo di Stéfano, the ideas will have to be squeezed again: it will have all fit except for the injured Jovic and Nacho.

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Since he collected Florentino's glove more than a year ago, who turned to him to straighten a Madrid that was reeling after the passage of Lopetegui and Solari on the bench, Zidane has used 32 players in the league (see table at the end of the text). Between injuries and tests, he has been moving names in such a way that the same 11 starts have never coincided. This scenario has its origin in a casting, the last 11 days of 2019-20, without any aspiration for a title. Soccer players paraded through these stages ready to impress Zidane to give them a role in their next project, the second after their golden first stage of the three consecutive Champions.

That experimental period left signs of the most significant. As the boss's confidence in Marcelo, leader with Varane in minutes (810) after being sentenced by Solari to a residual plane. Instead, Reguilón (180), who had liked it a lot until then, was the 22nd in participation (180 minutes). Joining point A and B, it was intuited that the Brazilian would continue and that the youth squad should seek accommodation, finally a loan from Sevilla that he is making good use of. Also in the opposite direction to Solari, restored to Keylor (630) the status of starter to the detriment of Courtois (270), a path that had to be retraced then to go hand in hand with the club in goal management. TO Marcos Llorente (22nd; 259 minutes) and Ceballos (23rd; 178), for his part, he invited them out.

The traces of the 2020-21 League until the halt due to the coronavirus show a veteran Zidane Madrid (28.81 years on average), with the bulk of the old guard maintaining status. The 11 most used these months have been Benzema (2,222), Casemiro (2,220), Ramos (2,220), Courtois (2,160), Varane (2,070), Carvajal (1,980), Kroos (1,879), Modric (1,355), Fede Valverde (1,266), Mendy (1,129) and Bale (992).

Zidane's message: “You are all going to be needed

“The fan will open up even more from now on, with that new football that brings with it the new normality. Management around two aspects will be key: the high concentration of parties, 11 in 35 days, and the expansion of the changes, five in a maximum of three rounds. Zidane, in direct collaboration with Grégory Dupont, the person in charge of physical training who he signed in the summer of 2019, has placed great emphasis on the high risk of injury that exists. So has thrown a message in the booth: “You are all going to be necessary.” The specialists of Valdebebas have been very satisfied with the state in which the footballers returned to training, as well as with their evolution this month, but neither can they be trusted that there are no setbacks.

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Distribution of minutes in the League since Zidane's return.

Entered the week of the kind of debut, the casualty this almost spotless, only with the aforementioned Jovic and Nacho. Optimism grows by looking at the recovered chapter: Marcelo and Courtois, fallen in the clash against Betis that preceded the break, they are full, and Hazard and Asensio, injured on the preseason tour and in February respectively, they can reappear when Zidane considers it. The Frenchman, who does not marry any idea, has plenty of options.