x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Real Zaragoza and Racing Santander facing the real "crisis"

Manolo Jimenez, Zaragoza's eighth coach in five years, will struggle to find any sense in the mess which includes players not being paid.

Fans of two Primera Liga clubs can only offer a wry smile when they read headlines of "crisis" at Real Madrid just because of cross words between Jose Mourinho and his players.

At Zaragoza and Racing Santander, their problems are truly serious. Over 15,000 Zaragoza fans protested against the club president Agipto Iglesias last week. With just 12 points from 19 games, their team are six points adrift at the bottom and without a win in 12 league games.

It is not a third relegation in nine years that is the biggest concern, but the heavily in debt club going out of business. Manolo Jimenez, Zaragoza's eight coach in five years, will struggle to find any sense in the mess which includes players not being paid, a spectre they know only too well in Santander, where Racing have had to deal with a highly dubious owner, crippling debts, administration and unpaid salaries.

Their coach Hector Cuper, once respected at Inter Milan and Valencia, was dismissed in December with the club bottom of the league and Cuper admitting he took €200,000 (Dh955,345) from affiliates of the Italian mafia. Cuper claimed the money was to help his mother-in-law renovate her home. Italian prosecutors claim it was for match fixing four games.

Racing fans have been wondering where the bad news and scandal will stop, so credit to the new coach Juanjo Gonzalez that they won two games in January to climb out of the relegation zone. It's a small mercy when times are so bad.