Zinedine Zidane Discusses Real Madrid Future Amid Exit Rumours

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistJanuary 9, 2018

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane sits on the bench before the Spanish La Liga soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Spain, Saturday, Dec. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)
Francisco Seco/Associated Press

Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane has admitted he knows he won't be manager at the Santiago Bernabeu in a decade's time. 

The former France international has enjoyed a remarkable start to his senior managerial career, steering Los Blancos to UEFA Champions League titles in his first two campaigns in charge, as well as the La Liga crown last term.

However, speaking with France Football (h/t AS), Zidane said he doesn't expect to be around for the long haul:

"I'm not protected by what I've done as a player at this club. I know that one day it [the coach's job] will come to an end at Real Madrid, so I make the most of it and I do everything I can to be successful.

"I say to myself: 'If I've got 10 days left here, then I'm going to live those 10 days to the max; if it's six months, I'll live those six months to the max.' I don't think beyond that. I know I won't stay [in the job] for 10 years." 

Hassan Ammar/Associated Press

Building a dynasty at Madrid is a massive challenge, as the standards at the club are so high that any coach who oversees a deviation from those levels often finds himself out of a job.

It's why there is some speculation about Zidane's position at the moment, despite his accomplishments. Speaking to BBC Radio 5 live's Euro Leagues Football Show, journalist Raphael Honigstein said Madrid are considering replacements.

"I do know that Real Madrid are asking around coaches in Europe, thinking about certain managers," he said. "Making enquiries, trying to figure out what is the best thing for them."

With the team struggling in La Liga this term, it appears club president Florentino Perez has taken a closer interest in the form of the team, as relayed by Dermot Corrigan of ESPN FC:

At the moment, Madrid are a team under pressure. Their 2-2 draw with Celta Vigo on Sunday leaves them in fourth place in La Liga, a staggering 16 points behind bitter rivals and division leaders Barcelona; Los Blancos are only 17 points clear of the relegation zone.

Fingers have naturally been pointed at various figures for Los Blancos' slump in 2017-18, as Zidane has been unable to get the same extraordinary displays from this team as he has in the past couple of campaigns.

Real Madrid have been below their best this season.
Real Madrid have been below their best this season.Lalo R. Villar/Associated Press

Up top Cristiano Ronaldo has struggled for form domestically, grabbing just four La Liga goals this season, while his usual attacking partners, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale, are out-of-form and struggling for fitness, respectively.

Zidane has also come in for some criticism for the way the club conducted business in the summer and the manner in which he's set the side up in 2017-18.

However, Spanish football writer Colin Millar believes some of the focus has been unfair:

With Barcelona so far ahead in the race for La Liga, the priorities for Los Blancos for the remainder of the season will surely shift to the Copa del Rey and especially the Champions League. In the latter they face a difficult last-16 tie with Paris Saint-Germain.

If Madrid end the campaign without a trophy, the pressure will mount on Zidane, as is tradition in the Spanish capital. But having donned the iconic all-white strip and been in the dugout for two years, the manager will be aware of what's required.

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