In a surprise turn of events, Zinedine Zidane made a stunning return to Real Madrid ten months after leaving them. After leading them to a plethora of trophies including three consecutive champions league titles, the Frenchman had left the club allegedly due to differences with club president Florentino Perez.
The Spanish giants have endured a nightmare campaign since Zidane’s departure. They have since then seen the departure of two coaches in Julien Lopetegui & Santiago Solari. Real Madrid is 12 points behind leaders Barcelona in the La Liga. The latter also knocked them out of the Copa Del Rey. And the lowest point of the season came in the 4-1 thrashing at home by Ajax in the Champions League.
The European champions have signed Zidane on a deal that runs till 2022. He was officially unveiled in a ceremony on Monday and said: “I want to put this club back where it belongs. It has been difficult from the outside looking in. I have been living here in Madrid, doing my things. But I have recharged my batteries. I’m ready to coach this great club again.”
Club president Fiorentino Perez said the best manager in the world had rejoined the club, adding that their destinies are once again united. According to reports, he has promised Zidane greater control over big club decisions & that was one of the reasons the Frenchman agreed to come back. One would assume that a big transfer kitty to get the club back on track will be one of the things needed with fellow Frenchman Kylian Mbappe & Chelsea’s Eden Hazard is on the radar.
Zidane faces an uphill battle to sort the mess Madrid have become. And before he looks outside, there are issues inside that need his immediate attention. Club captain Sergio Ramos has been on a collision course with the president with both reportedly had a dressing room fallout after the Ajax defeat. Gareth Bale has his own set of problems with the fans booing him recently. The Welshman also has a tumultuous relationship with Zidane. Other stalwarts like Marcelo & Toni Kroos have also struggled. New signing Thibaut Courtois has probably had his worst season between the sticks.
Yet his biggest challenge is to replace Cristiano Ronaldo. The club has struggled up front with only Karim Benzema reaching double figures in the league. The press was quick to ask Zidane if Madrid would try to sign back the Portuguese legend. He brushed the question aside putting the onus on immediate worries before the club. But its football & anything can happen. Who would have imagined Zidane return back at the helm so soon? Certainly not us.