The 2018/19 season has finished and Zinedine Zidane and Real Madrid can now look ahead to a brighter future. The French coach was keen to look to 2019/20 as he spoke in the press conference after the 2-0 loss to Real Betis, although he was also keen to stress that there are lessons to be learned from the tough times of the current campaign.
“It’s over and now we think about next season,” he said when discussing 2018/19 as a whole. “We’ll prepare well in pre-season. We’re not going to say right now that we’ll win everything, but what we will say now is that we’ll work hard in pre-season and work hard from the start of next season. This has been a bad season and we have to accept it. There are no excuses and we apologise to the fans. We have to think about next year. This is going to change. I’m sure about that. Good comes after the bad. We shouldn’t forget this season, though, as we should learn from it.”
Speaking about his 11 matches (five wins, two draws and four defeats), Zidane pointed to a lack of anything to play for as one of the issues for the players. “Mentally, it has been complicated,” he told reporters. “Football is about motivation and it has been complicated, all the way to the final game. We wanted to win today, but we couldn’t.”
Gareth Bale was brought up too after Zidane didn’t give him any minutes in what could be his final Real Madrid fixture, just as he didn’t use the Welshman in either of the past two matches. “He didn’t play because somebody else played, it’s very simple,” the Frenchman said. “I really don’t know what will happen. Yes, I have been playing other players recently, but I have to take decisions and do things as I see them. Nobody can change what Bale has done, but the day-to-day is what it is. We won’t forget the past, but I have to think about the present.”
Another player believed to be off at the end of the campaign is Keylor Navas and Zidane was similarly vague about the Costa Rican’s future. “I really don’t know what will happen,” he said of the goalkeeper. “Keylor played well today and people are happy. I saw that and am not looking further ahead.”