Zinedine Zidane's Real Madrid Castilla miss out on promotion

Zinedine Zidane's Real Madrid Castilla team have failed in their bid to get promoted from Spain's third tier this season.

Real's B team, which Zidane coaches and also features teenage starlet Martin Odegaard, have no chance of escaping from the Segunda B division following Sunday's 1-1 draw at home to Guadalajara.

Zidane's first season as a head coach has not gone at all as planned. It started slowly but did pick up pace through the autumn, and in January the team were joint-top of the table with 37 points from 21 games played.

A poor run since then has seen the Blancos youth side drop to ninth in the table, with 55 points from 37 games, and no chance of even making the playoffs.

Athletic Bilbao's all-Basque B team are in the same division, and are currently in second place, 10 points ahead of Zidane's side. Regional teams with tiny budgets such as Socuellamos, Toledo and Tudelano are now ahead of Castilla too.

It has not gone unnoticed in Spain that the arrival of Odegaard in January has coincided with the team's slide down the table.

Odegaard, 16, is playing with Castilla but training day to day with Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Madrid's other senior galacticos, something which reports say has caused divisions within the Castilla dressing room. The wunderkind was dropped recently, but returned to the team for Saturday's crunch game against promotion rivals Guadalajara, although he was unable to inspire the team to the win they needed.

Zidane, who last weekend confirmed via Instagram that he has completed his UEFA pro-licence, has been regularly linked with promotion himself to replace Carlo Ancelotti as Madrid's first team coach.

It remains to be seen whether Blancos president Florentino Perez views this season's disappointment with Castilla as evidence that the former France international, who does not give pregame or postgame news conferences, is ready to step up into such a huge job.

Castilla's failure to gain promotion has also led to criticism of the behind-the-scenes planning at Madrid. The club invested in outside talent to play alongside its up and coming youngsters, but none of those purchases have made much impression.

Among the 29 different players used has been 23-year-old Finnish forward Eero Markkanen, who cost €1.6 million from AIK Solna, and has scored just two goals all season.