Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane admitted his job could be in danger after he watched his team slip to a humiliating exit from the Copa del Ray at home to Leganes on Wednesday night.
Zidane’s next test comes when Real Madrid play away to Valencia on Saturday afternoon in a game which could have a huge bearing, not only on Zidane’s future, but also on Madrid’s European ambitions.
Defeat to third-placed Valencia would leave Madrid eight points behind Valencia and offer Villarreal a chance to overtake them on the league table. This would put Madrid in a position where they could possibly fail to qualify for next season’s Champions League.
Should that happen, and bearing in mind the financial effects for a club like Real Madrid if they missed out on qualification for the Champions League, club President Florentino Perez could well be tempted to show Zidane the door.
Madrid has nearly all of their squad available for the game. Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo, who were inexplicably rested for the cup fiasco, are both ready to return along with Toni Kroos, Luka Modric, Casemiro and Rafael Varene.
Sergio Ramos is also fit after playing on Wednesday, so it will be the strongest possible Madrid side at the Mestalla Stadium.
Meanwhile Valencia reached the last four of the Copa del Ray after a penalty shootout against Alaves. Manager Marcelino Garcia has injury worries with Gabriel Paulista out with a twisted knee (he is also suspended for the match) and Carlos Soler also doubtful for the fixture against Madrid.
Ruben Vezo is suspended and although Ezequiel Garay will return, there is a big doubt over the fitness of Jeison Murillo, which could leave Valencia weak at the back.
Valencia’s 2-2 draw in the Bernabeu earlier this season was the first hint that things were not going to go well for Real Madrid and Zidane this season. If Valencia take more points off Madrid on Saturday, it could spell the end for Zidane.