Zinedine Zidane is set to complete a sensational return to the role of Real Madrid boss, according to a report.
Santiago Solari’s difficult spell in charge is coming to an end with the board of directors due to meet, according to Spanish television station laSexta’s show El Chiringuito de Jugones.
Zidane’s return to the job he left only last summer is expected to be confirmed this afternoon, with the 46-year-old to take training tomorrow. It is thought to be a short-term deal, lasting until the end of the season, and will be confirmed after the board meeting at around 6pm today (5pm UK time.
Earlier reports by Spanish newspaper El Pais had claimed that Zidane was ready to reject Los Blancos’ approach and had been offered a three-year deal by Juventus but now, it seems, the return to the Bernabeu is set to be completed.
His odds of becoming Real’s next manager are now in to 1/25 with the squad said to be surprised but pleased by the news. Jose Mourinho and Mauricio Pochettino had both been linked with moves to the club.
“That may mean difficulties for Gareth Bale,” said Spanish football pundit Guillem Balague, backing up the reports. “He didn’t adapt very well with Zidane. Sergio Ramos will have his authority reinforced. Zidane also wants (to add) the likes of (Chelsea’s Eden) Hazard and perhaps even (Spurs’ Christian) Eriksen to the side.
From the official Facebook page of Real Madrid
“He will be given all the sporting integrity and all of the things he suggested in the summer that Florentino Perez (Real Madrid president) did not want to do. He is coming with the idea of not just managing the side but also managing the decisions for the first team of Real Madrid. Fascinating days ahead.”
Former France captain Zidane led Real to NINE trophies during three seasons in charge, including three consecutive Champions League victories, but resigned in stunning circumstances in the immediate aftermath of last season’s final victory over Liverpool.
He is one of only three managers, along with Carlo Ancelotti and Bob Paisley, to have secured three European successes.
He won 104 of his 149 games in charge and won one La Liga title, one Spanish Super Cup, two UEFA Super Cups and two Club World titles to go with his three Champions League crowns. It made for an average of a trophy every 16.6 matches.
On leaving the post last summer, Zidane admitted he could envisage a return.
“Of course it can be a ‘see you later’ (rather than goodbye) because Madrid has given me everything,” he said. “I will be around, close to this club all my life but the decision, maybe for many doesn’t make any sense, for me it makes sense.”
His successor Solari has not enjoyed such success with the side currently third in the La Liga table, 12 points behind Barcelona and having been ousted from the Champions League after an embarrassing 4-1 home defeat to Ajax last week.
Zinedine Zidane’s official Facebook handle
Zidane’s first game of his second spell in charge will be at hope to Celta Vigo on Saturday (kick-off 3.15pm BST), as the side look to chase down city rivals Atletico, who are five points ahead in second spot.