Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid will surpass Barcelona’s record of 16 straight Liga victories under Pep Guardiola if they beat Villarreal at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday.
The Frenchman took over from Rafa Benitez at Real last season and after his losing the Madrid derby 1-0 at home to Atletico in late February, and he led Los Blancos to 12 straight success in the Primera Division – a run that saw his side miss out on the title by just one point to Barca in the end.
Four more victories for Zidane’s side this term mean it is 16 in total and the 2-0 win at Espanyol on Sunday set a new club record, improving the 15 in a row achieved by legendary coach Miguel Munoz back in 1960-61.
After the loss to Atletico, Real beat Levante, Celta Vigo, Las Palmas, Sevilla, Barcelona, Eibar, Getafe, Villarreal, Rayo Vallecano, Real Sociedad, Valencia and Deportivo at the end of last season, before wins in the current campaign over Sociedad, Celta, Osasuna and Espanyol.
In total, Zidane’s side have netted 51 goals in that time, conceding only 12. The biggest win, meanwhile, was a 7-1 victory at home to Celta last season, while Los Blancos beat Barca 2-1 in the Clasico clash at Camp Nou (the fifth fixture in the streak).
Back in 2010-11, Barca’s 16-match winning run began with a 2-1 victory at home to Valencia. After that, Guardiola’s great side beat Zaragoza, Sevilla, Getafe, Villarreal, Almeria, Real Madrid, Osasuna, Real Sociedad, Espanyol, Levante, Deportivo La Coruna, Malaga, Racing Santander, Hercules and Atletico before the run came to an end with a 1-1 draw away to Sporting Gijon on February 12, 2011.
Those 16 wins included 60 goals for the Blaugrana, with just six conceded. The biggest margin of victory, meanwhile, came in an 8-0 thrashing of Almeria away from home and in their very next match, Barca beat Jose Mourinho’s Madrid 5-0 at Camp Nou.
Asked about the possibility of Zidane’s side surpassing the mark set by Pep’s Barca, Luis Enrique refused to comment on Tuesday in the pre-match press conference ahead of his team’s Camp Nou clash against Atleti.
For his part, Zidane said after the win at Epanyol on Sunday: “We’re happy.”
But he added on Tuesday: “What we want is to keep winning points. We haven’t won anything and we know that this is a long season and that there will be many difficult moments.”
Indeed. Guardiola’s Barca won La Liga in 2010-11 after those 16 wins in a row, but there is plenty of work still left for Zidane’s side to do the same this term – even if they make it 17 victories in succession on Wednesday.