Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane is under increasing pressure at the Bernabeu after a disastrous defence of the Spanish title Los Blancos won last season, with suggestions the Frenchman could walk away from the club by the end of the campaign.
Real have only won two of their last seven La Liga games, even losing twice in successive home fixtures. It means they are 19 points behind fierce rivals Barcelona, while their biggest challenge is to stay in the top four amid pressure from Villarreal and Sevilla.
But it is not simply that Zidane, who delivered two Champions League titles in his first 18 months in charge, could be sacked by demanding president Florentino Perez for a sub-par season.
According to Marca, there is a belief at Real that the former three-time FIFA World Player of the Year and 1998 Ballon d'Or winner is increasingly likely to quit of his own accord.
The Spanish report notes that Zidane has already achieved everything he can hope to since taking over, while also suggesting that the 45-year-old is 'struggling to cope' as a result of fatigue and having to deal with having the lofty expectations on his shoulders.
It is reminiscent of Luis Enrique walking away from Barcelona at the end of last season.
Marca claims Germany coach Joachim Low and Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino are early favourites for the potentially vacant Bernabeu hot-seat.
Speaking after a narrow 1-0 win over Leganes in the Copa del Rey on Thursday night, Zidane expressed hope that the positive result may now act as a catalyst for the coming weeks.
"We've got a long way to go. We need to get our confidence back, score goals and stop conceding," he explained (via RealMadrid.com).
"We cannot sit here and say we played well but we got an important result for the tie and that is positive. There are moments when the going gets tough, but we need to have a little patience and know that together we can move forward.
"This win could well be a turning point for us and we may well go on to get three or four positive results."