Zinedine Zidane is entering must-win territory at Real Madrid, with Goal learning that the Frenchman has lost the trust of certain board members amid talk of a return to the Santiago Bernabeu for Jose Mourinho.
An iconic figure in the Spanish capital accepted an SOS call from the Blancos in March, with the decision taken to take the reins for a second time just a matter of months after bringing an initial spell as head coach to a close.
Zidane delivered La Liga title success and a hat-trick of Champions League crowns during a dream start to his managerial career, but replicating those triumphs is proving difficult.
A 7-3 defeat to arch-rivals Atletico Madrid over the summer and a 3-0 reversal to fellow European heavyweights Paris Saint-Germain in the current campaign have seen questions asked of the man in the dugout.
A further setback at Mallorca on Saturday, which saw Real knocked from the Liga summit by Clasico foes Barcelona, has intensified the pressure on Zidane and tarnished his image further in the eyes of some of those calling the shots at the Bernabeu.
A Champions League clash with Galatasaray on Tuesday has now taken on added importance, with defeat unthinkable for a side that would then be left sweating on a place in the last 16 and their boss hanging by a thread.
A lack of progress is concerning those in Madrid’s corridors of power, with some of the opinion that turning to Zidane again was the wrong decision.
He has been given time and money in which to deliver a reversal in fortune, but there have been few signs of encouragement in 2019-20 – although injuries have been doing the Blancos’ cause few favours.
Victory over Galatasaray in midweek would buy Zidane a little breathing space, but another untimely reversal could leave him on borrowed time as another change in the dugout is mulled over.
Real are wary of allowing sentiment to cloud their judgement when it comes to the ongoing presence of a club legend.
With there still a long way to go in the current campaign, the board acknowledges that a fresh start could yet deliver rich rewards both in La Liga and the Champions League.
For them, this is not a case of mathematics and points, but rather one of mood and confidence.
Madrid have failed to convince for some time now and a reaction is being demanded from those on and off the pitch, because the struggles for consistency will no longer be accepted.
Attention has already started to shift towards those who could step in should the call be made to part with Zidane.
Mourinho, who spent three years at the Bernabeu between 2010 and 2013, is back in the frame and available for an immediate start after opting against taking another job in the wake of his dismissal by Manchester United in December 2018.
The Portuguese is considered to be the ideal candidate to step in and shake up the negativity which has enveloped Real in recent times.
Zidane is aware that he needs to be looking over his shoulder, with it now imperative that he oversees a winning effort in Turkey if he has any intention of remaining in a high-profile post for the foreseeable future.