Wednesday night’s victory over Real Mallorca was Zinedine Zidane’s 203rd game at the helm of Real Madrid, and incredibly his 179th different starting XI.
As highlighted by Marca ahead of the game, the previous 202 fixtures had seen 178 different line-ups used by the Frenchman with the encounter against the Islanders seeing another previously unseen combination used.
A total of 48 different players have played for Los Blancos under Zidane’s tenure – which is not an unusually high number – but rotation, differing styles and formations, along with injuries and suspensions, have meant that there has been little consistency between each team in a long-term basis.
Indeed, the report highlights that Zidane’s most frequently starting XI – consisting of Keylor Navas, Dani Carvajal, Pepe, Sergio Ramos, Marcelo, Casemiro, Toni Kroos, Luka Modric, Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema – only ever actually played seven matches together from the start.
As highlighted, a slight tweak to that XI – Raphael Varane and Isco replacing Pepe and Bale respectively – was the only other combination of players (used six times) that started more than three games together.
Wednesday night’s game was the 16th match in succession for Madrid without starting the same XI in succession, a run stretching back to the Spanish Supercopa in January.
That is despite a current injury list of Isco, Nacho Fernandez, Lucas Vazquez, Mariano Diaz and Luka Jovic, alongside the fact that Marco Asensio has only just returned from a lengthy layoff.