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Zidane’s Real Madrid are the post-international break experts

One of the reasons for the success Real Madrid have enjoyed since Zinedine Zidane took over the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu dugout is the fact that they have been able to perform well just after international breaks.

In fact, the Frenchman has overseen victories in each of the five games played just after a round of international fixtures since he took over.

The very first time he had to get his players refocussed after representing their countries was for a daunting trip to the Camp Nou, but that finished in a famous 2-1 victory over Barcelona.

Then, in the 2016/17 campaign, Los Blancos beat Osasuna 5-2, Real Betis 6-1, Atletico Madrid 3-0 and Alaves 3-0 in their four post-international break fixtures.

That is the best record in this category of any Real Madrid coach of the past two decades, even better than the other two men to achieve a 100 percent record after FIFA dates, given that Carlos Queiroz and Manuel Pellegrini only won three of three.

For some legendary Real coaches, these matches were always a struggle and Fabio Capello, for example, won just half – four of eight – of the post-international breaks he oversaw, while Vicente del Bosque won just four of nine.

Zidane’s ability to rotate so cleverly has been a major help in all of this and he is likely to introduce a number of squad players into Saturday’s lineup for the match against Levante.

The fact that Keylor Navas and Casemiro will have had just one training session with their teammates following their trips around the globe mean they could be replaced for this match, while there may also be opportunities for Marcos Llorente and Theo Hernandez

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