Report: Zinedine Zidane to Return as Real Madrid Manager Amid Juventus Rumours

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 11, 2019

Former French football player Zinedine Zidane looks on during a promotional event for the Chinese University of Football Association in Guangzhou, in China's southern Guangdong province on November 30, 2018. (Photo by - / AFP) / China OUT        (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)
-/Getty Images

Zinedine Zidane will reportedly replace Santiago Solari as Real Madrid boss amid rumours he is wanted by Juventus.

According to Jugones (h/t Sport), Solari will be fired around 6 p.m. local time on Monday, and following successful negotiations with Madrid president Florentino Perez, Zidane—who left the club last summerwill take his place on Tuesday.

However, El Pais (h/t Calciomercato.com) reported Zidane has also been in touch with former club Juventus and "has a formal offer to lead Juventus until 2022."

Zidane managed Real for two-and-a-half years, and in that time he won three consecutive UEFA Champions League titles and La Liga.

His successor at the Santiago Bernabeu, Julen Lopetegui, lasted just 14 matches before he was fired having won fewer than half of them.

Solari oversaw an improvement, but in the space of a week, he saw Real crash out of the Champions League against Ajax after Barcelona had pulled the curtain on their hopes in La Liga and the Copa del Rey, all at the Bernabeu.

ESPN's Dan Thomas nevertheless felt he should remain in charge until the end of the season:

Dan Thomas @DanThomasESPN

Why not wait until the end of the season to sack Solari. Use the next couple of months to conduct a proper search for a new manager.

With Zidane seemingly set to return, it appears Real have no need for a lengthy search for Solari's successor.

SB Nation's Lucas Navarrete believes Zidane will be given the tools he needs to reshape the squad as he sees fit:

Lucas Navarrete @LucasNavarreteM

It's now clear to me that Zidane left because the board were not willing to give him whatever he wanted in terms of signings/departures. That has changed now.

AS' Robbie Dunne feels Real could have avoided such a disappointing season by giving him what he wanted last summer:

Robbie Dunne @robbiejdunne

That is one crippingly painful lesson that Zidane just taught Real Madrid.

It will be a difficult job, more so than when the Frenchman took charge the first time. 

Los Blancos are now without Cristiano Ronaldo, Sergio Ramos is almost 33 and LukaModric nearly 34.

Several other core players, such as Gareth Bale, Toni Kroos and Marcelo, aren't quite as old at 29 or 30, but they've each had poor seasons—the former and the latter in particular.

La Liga writer Andrew Gaffney believes returning to Real is a gamble on Zidane's part:

Andrew Gaffney @GaffneyVLC

I find Zidane’s decision to go back a massive, massive risk. Improving what came after him won’t be hard but he’ll be judged against what he did in his previous stint. Matching that is practically impossible. I guess he must really love the club.

Juventus might not be easy, either, given they're in the process of transitioning away from veteran defenders Andrea Barzagli (37) and Giorgio Chiellini (34), but they have less competition domestically than Real, and unlike the Spanish giants, they're not a club in crisis.

For all the success he delivered first time around, a return to Real will be a huge test of Zidane's managerial capabilities.


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