The former Blancos star believes managerial changes are more to blame for the struggles endured at the Bernabeu than the loss of a talismanic forward
Cristiano Ronaldo was “king in Madrid”, acknowledges Clarence Seedorf, but the departure of Zinedine Zidane as manager is considered to have hit Real harder.
The summer of 2018 saw winds of change sweep through the Santiago Bernabeu.
A five-time Ballon d’Or-winning forward called time on a nine-year stint in the Spanish capital as he left for Juventus, while an iconic former player walked away from a position as head coach.
In the absence of Ronaldo and Zidane, the Blancos have struggled for consistency – having parted with Julen Lopetegui as boss early in the campaign – and are still seeking inspiration.
Seedorf told Marca on the impact made by two painful exits: “Cristiano was considered a king in Madrid and he guaranteed goals for the team.
“If Cristiano was still in the team then Los Blancos would have more confidence in themselves, but I don’t believe the results would have been so different.
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“It’s likely that the exit of Zidane has had a far greater impact because the way of working has changed. Whoever had replaced him would have needed to do a special job in order to have immediate success and overcome the inevitable initial difficulties.”
Amid the difficulties at Real this season, Spain international playmaker Isco has suffered a humbling tumble down the pecking order.
His days appear to be numbered with Santiago Solari at the helm, with Seedorf saying of the 26-year-old schemer: “It’s always difficult to know exactly what is happening internally when looking from the outside.
“Isco is for sure a very important player and he’s one of the footballers I would put on the pitch if I had the chance to coach him. At the same time, all important players go through difficult times and it’s the coach’s job to help the individual recover from either a physical or mental perspective. Solari isn’t crazy enough to leave out a player without having a good reason.”
Seedorf almost got the chance to take charge of Isco and Co last summer, with a former favourite from his playing days among those approached after Zidane announced his departure.
The ex-Netherlands international said: “I consider Real Madrid my home and, to be honest, I would have accepted the job. There were contacts but the decision was made to go in a different direction. I’m young, so I hope to return in the future.”
Instead of being in charge of the Blancos, Seedorf is currently working with the Cameroon national side.
He is fully committed to that role at present, but admits any opportunity to return to Madrid would always appeal to him.
“It would be like returning home,” he said.
“I already had a similar experience when I was AC Milan coach, so the feelings would be similar.”