FM20 4-3-3 Real Madrid Tactic Inspired by Zinedine Zidane

Creative Team FM20 Tactics, Tactics 5 Comments

Zinedine Zidane has carved his own history as a manager since he took over Real Madrid first team. Winning three consecutive Champions League is a big deal in the football world. Real Madrid broke a record when they did that under the French manager. This time, we have decided to honour his style by creating this FM20 Real Madrid 4-3-3 tactic inspired by Zinedine Zidane.

In FM20, Real Madrid are one of the easiest teams to manage. After all, they are one of the biggest teams in the world. Therefore, managing Madrid in FM20 is not a tough challenge. But that’s not what we are interested in when creating this tactic. Our interest is just to imitate Zidane’s current tactical signature at Madrid. However, this tactic may not work with other teams you choose to test it with, but it sure works with Los Blancos.

Check out our Diego Simeone 4-4-2 tactic for Away games

FM20 Zidane 4-3-3 Formation


Zidane’s build-up strategy is no different from the others we have seen so far while using the 4-3-3 setup. Real Madrid usually builds from the back. However, it’s not always so because Madrid sometimes go direct. Just like Oblak, Courtois is not a fantastic sweeper keeper to start the kind of build-up Edison or Neuer does, which is why Madrid sometimes go direct.

Moreover, in build-up, the fullbacks play an important role. Zidane’s new tactical strategy this season so far is to build up play through the flanks and attack from the same areas. The job of the midfielders is to switch plays; right to left and vise versa. With the fullbacks usually being the center of attention, Madrid often look for overlap, which is part of the reasons Zidane’s men cross a lot in this season.

Attacking Movement

Real Madrid this season often use crossing as their attacking strategy. They have been good in the air anyways, to be frank. But, their attacking width has always been narrow. The wingers converge, which leaves the overlapping fullbacks to exploit the by-lines. Sometimes, the fullbacks cross from deep positions.

In other words, Zinedine Zidane second attacking strategy is Shoot on Sight. We have seen this so many times in their games. And they have the players who can shoot with power from a distance. However, the French boss always allows his team to be expressive on the pitch.

Antonio Conte’s tactical style at Inter Milan

Defensive Strategy

Of course, Real Madrid really like to press the opponent, thereby suffocating their build-up. But one issue with Madrid’s press this season is lack of compactness. Zidane now seems to be very cautious unlike before. But his cautiousness sometimes leaves his tactic unbalanced when it comes to defensive positioning. This is why their LOE is much higher but the defensive line appears standard. The space they leave between the lines sometimes causes issues for them especially when the opposition capitalizes on that space.

However, Casemiro always tries to be relentless in covering that space. And this makes him a vital figure in Madrid’s defence.

With that said, Zidane is still a fan of counter-press and their pressing intensity can be high.

Role Selections of Zidane at R. Madrid

Sweeper Keeper – defend

Since Courtois is not really a sweeper keeper, though he does a bit of the SK role, he is usually on defend duty rather than support or attack.Ball Playing

Defenders – defend

Since the regime of Zidane at Los Blancos, Varane, Ramos, and sometimes Nacho have played as ball playing defenders. They have the composure and passing range required. Also, they can carry the ball to the midfield to create better passing options. They normally prefer to go long, especially when finding the wide players (fullbacks or wingers).


The fullbacks in Zidane’s current tactic always support the attacking phase. They are indispensable in this phase. Marcelo is a true attacking complete wingback because of his excellent dribbling and mental abilities. Carvajal, on the right, is a supporting wingback.

Both Mendy and Álvaro Odriozola (now at Bayern Munich on loan) play as supporting wingbacks under Zidane and you can also give them the same role in FM20.

Anchor Man – defend

This is what Casemiro is under Zidane – an anchor. His main job is to anchor the defence. Because of the lack of compactness usually found in the team, Casemiro does the dirt jobs to protect the defence by going aggressive on the opponent with the ball or intercepting moves, which prevents counter-attacks.

Central Midfielders

When paired, Kroos and Modric play as deep-lying players. Their job is to control the tempo and switch plays. But this season has seen the likes of Valverde, James Rodriguez, and Isco featuring in the central midfield positions. These players are attack-minded, except Valverde. James and Isco appear as Advanced Playmakers – they can turn defence into attack. But in FM20, the support duty is more suitable.


Hazard can play as inside forward or inverted winger. But under Zidane, he acts more as an inverted winger. This is because Hazard is really good at overloading retreating defenders and opening up spaces for the overlapping fullback.

Bale, however, plays as inside forward. He usually drifts inside, runs towards the opposition defence, and shoots from a distance. However, generally, Zidane’s wingers’ main duty is to open space for the overlapping fullbacks to exploit.


Benzema has been the favorite striker of Zinedine Zidane. The way Benzema influences the team is different and quite special, sort of. Naturally, the French striker is a deep-lying forward. He drops deep, roams, assists, and scores. But I think he’s more of a complete forward now since swayed to start making use of his heading ability – the crossing strategy brought about this. So, you can try the CF role in this tactic in FM20.

Jovic, as the second choice, plays more of the role of an attacking deep-lying forward under Zidane.

Results and Statistics

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