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Zinedine Zidane and the Real Madrid new-boss Clasico curse

| 01.04.2016

The football world loves an El Clasico, but given his predecessors’ record in their debut clashes with Barcelona, Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane might not be so upbeat about Saturday’s contest.

Already under pressure in the Spanish capital, reports have begun swirling over just how much time the former World Cup winner has left in charge of Los Blancos.

Defeat to the near-unstoppable MSN trio of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar would no doubt crank up the pressure even more, and the history books show Real bosses do not fare well at all in their inaugural El Clasico as coach of the 10-time European champions.

Zidane will know only too well of the pressure El Clasico brings, but here’s how the new-boss curse struck for the last five Bernabeu coaches…

Rafa Benitez – Lost 4-0, November 2015

Seemingly up against it from day one in Madrid, Rafa was never to recover from a hammering at home to Barcelona.

A Suarez double, plus strikes from Neymar and Andreas Iniesta proved to be the last straw for the Madrid faithful, and Benitez was gone just six weeks later.

Carlo Ancelotti – Lost 2-1, October 2013

Certainly nothing to be ashamed about,  but Ancelotti had already lost the Madrid derby before heading to the Nou Camp in his first campaign in charge.

Goals from Neymar and Alexis Sanchez proved more than enough to hand the Italian a debut loss in El Clasico, though revenge would be earned later in the year with a Copa del Rey victory.

Jose Mourinho – Lost 5-0, October 2010

Imagine losing 5-0 in your first El Clasico in charge of Real Madrid and Lionel Messi doesn’t even score for Barcelona?

Well, along with most of this season, that match will be something Jose Mourinho probably still has nightmares about. Perhaps it was an early sign that man and club would never quite get along.

Manuel Pellegrini – Lost 1-0, November 2009

Keeping the trend going nicely, current but soon-to-be former Man City boss Manuel Pellegrini also lost his first game against Barcelona while in charge of Real.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic netted the contest’s only goal in an incredible year in which Madrid bagged 96 points and still didn’t win the league. That defeat in October proved pivotal.

Juande Ramos – Lost 2-0, December 2008

Tottenham fans won’t be surprised to find Juande Ramos on this list, although he is the only man on it to have joined Los Blancos mid-season.

His side held out for 83 minutes too in Barca, before goals from Samuel Eto’o and that guy Messi handed the hosts  three points. Things got oh so worse for Ramos the following May though, when Barca ran riot at the Bernabeu to win 6-2.

So who is the last man to avoid the curse?

Bernd Schuster – Won 1-0, December 2007

The German was the most recent Real Madrid boss to win his first El Clasico, prevailing 1-0 at Barca sixth months into his tenure in 2007, with former Arsenal man Julio Baptista proving the hero.

The omens aren’t good at all, but whatever happens to Zidane at the Nou Camp this weekend, you can catch it all wherever you are live at Ladbrokes.com!

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.



Richard Marsh

Richard loves his sport, especially if it involves the sound of tyres screaming around a race track. He's not fussy though and his '90s Premier League nostalgia and knowledge of team nicknames is tough to match.