Zinedine Zidane Returns To Real Madrid

Martin Green

Monday, March 11, 2019 6:54 PM UTC

Monday, Mar. 11, 2019 6:54 PM UTC

Real Madrid have lured former manager Zinedine Zidane back to the Bernebeu after suffering a dismal season in his absence.

<p>The Frenchman walked out of the club last summer after guiding them to three consecutive Champions League titles. He said he felt it was time for a fresh face to take the team forward, but gossip columns speculated that he was furious after the club sanctioned the sale of Cristiano Ronaldo. The season has been an unmitigated disaster and the club had to go back to Zidane cap in hand and beg him to return.</p><p>His replacement, former Spain boss Julen Lopetegui, lasted just a couple of months after presiding over a horrendous start to the campaign. Real Madrid then turned to Santiago Solari, but the decided to sack him after losing twice on the bounce to Barcelona and then crashing out of the Champions League at the hands of Ajax. Real are now third in La Liga, 12 points behind Barcelona, and out of all cup competitions, so there is nothing really to play for this season. They are 75/1 (76.0) with <a href="https://a.oddsmarket.com/record/v?c=150&amp;a=df66db4b-b019-4343-9fc7-6c4f20e2a356" target="_blank" title="Paddy Power">Paddy Power</a> to win the title and that would take a miracle. Yet Zidane has signed a contract until 2022 and it is very much time for the club to build for the future.</p><h2>A fire sale</h2><p>A huge clear out is expected at Real this summer, as revolution is in the air. Gareth Bale is the chief scapegoat and he is expected to go, but no player is safe. Even legendary captain Sergio Ramos may be axed. Marcelo is agitating for a move to Juventus and Isco is expected to leave after barely featuring this season. Zidane’s arrival could provide a lifeline for those players, who thrived under his stewardship, but it is safe to assume there will be a mass exodus from the club.</p><p>It is also now time for Real Madrid to whip the chequebook out. They have failed to sign any Galacticos for several years now, and they have cash to burn from the Ronaldo sale. They need some superstar signings if they are to overhaul Barcelona in La Liga and challenge for the Champions League next season. Neymar, Eden Hazard and Harry Kane will be among the primary targets, so PSG, Chelsea and Tottenham should brace themselves for long summers.</p><h2>The managerial merry-go-round</h2><p>Yet the news is positive for Spurs fans, who feared that Real Madrid would try to pinch their manager in the summer. It was bad news for former Real manager Jose Mourinho, who was hoping to return to the club after being axed by Man Utd earlier this season. Caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is now the 1/10 (1.10) favourite with <a href="https://a.oddsmarket.com/record/v?c=153&amp;a=8ec6399a-9df1-4c52-b272-39e6428836a6" target="_blank" title="Betfair">Betfair</a> to get the job on a permanent basis, but he suffered a blot on his CV when <a href="https://www.oddsmarket.com/tips/football/premier-league-weekend-recap-and-early-odds-for-week-31/89558/" target="_blank" title="Premiership recap">the Red Devils lost 2-0 to Arsenal on Sunday</a>. Some fans might now fancy the 9/1 (10.0) on Pochettino to land the job in the summer, as he has a lot more experience than the Norwegian.</p>
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