Frenchman Back At The Bernabeu
Zinedine Zidane returned to Real Madrid after his Premier League options began to narrow.
The Frenchman has signed a new three-year deal at the Bernabeu and returns to the La Liga side just ten months after he left. Real have gone through two coaches during that time in the shape of Julen Lopetegui and Santi Solari. But two defeats to arch-rivals Barcelona effectively ended their interest in the La Liga title and the Copa del Rey while last week’s shock 4-1 home defeat to Ajax ended their three-year grip on the Champions League.
Zidane had expected to take a year off before returning to football management in the summer. However, he was particularly interested in a move to the Premier League – a move that wasn’t realised in the manner that he had hoped.
Manchester United looked to be the obvious fit for Zidane. But the side’s impressive form under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s spell as interim manager has virtually ruled out every other candidate but the Norwegian.
Zidane was also linked with Chelsea as the Blues faltered under Maurizio Sarri. But the side looks in need of an overhaul and that won’t take place this summer with the west London side under a two-window transfer embargo. Tottenham Hotspur could have been an option if Maurizio Pochettino left – he was linked with Real Madrid. But Zidane would have been under financial constraints following the over-run of the club’s new stadium project.
That just left a return to Madrid some three months or so before Zidane would have preferred to go back to work.
“I know it’s a special day, for everyone, I’m very happy, which is the most important thing, as the president said, I’m very happy to return home,” Zidane said at a press conference on Monday evening.
“There’s nothing to say, I’m very happy to return and I want to work and put the club where it deserves to be, for now I’m focused on training tomorrow.”
But Zidane returns to a squad shorn of its star player in Cristiano Ronaldo and with the player bought almost six years ago as his eventual replacement, Gareth Bale, failing to impress. Real have effectively failed to replace Ronaldo and that remains a fact with two months to go to the end of the season although with qualification for next season’s Champions League more or less assured.
“I’m not thinking about signings, I’m thinking it’s an important day and I’m happy to return.
“Cristiano is, the history of this club, which no-one will change, he was the best, but he’s not the topic,” he insisted.