Real Madrid midfielder Dani Ceballos has revealed that Zinedine Zidane’s departure was crucial in his decision to remain at the Bernabeu.
The 22-year-old struggled to make his mark under the French coach last year, as he managed just 22 appearances in all competitions, with many of those cameo outings off the bench.
In turn, it would have been a frustrating year for the youngster as he’ll be desperate to play regularly and develop his game, and that certainly didn’t happen last season under Zidane.
However, he’s been given a fresh start following the appointment of Julen Lopetegui this past summer, with the Spaniard having worked extensively at youth level and seemingly more open to the idea of using the youngsters at his disposal.
Ceballos has revealed though, had Zidane remained at Madrid, he may well have pursued an exit for himself in order to secure a more prominent role elsewhere.
“It’s something for him to explain, why I didn’t get opportunities,” he told AS. “I worked, I tried to make [his decisions] difficult for him, but a moment comes when you see it’s impossible.
“If Zidane had continued, I would obviously have looked for an exit. There was a moment of the season when Kroos and Modric were injured and he changed the system to put other players in. That burns a little and hurts you.”
Competition remains fierce in that department with Toni Kroos, Luka Modric, Isco and Casemiro amongst those that Ceballos will have push past in the pecking order in order to gain regular playing time.
He’s made three appearances in all competitions so far this season and so he’s evidently in Lopetegui’s thoughts, but time will tell if he is left with the same frustrations across the season even though the reigning European champions will need a deep squad to compete on various fronts this year.