No one could’ve predicted a scenario that saw Zinedine Zidane take over the Real Madrid hotseat just 10 months after he left it, but that’s precisely what’s happened in the aftermath of Los Blancos sacking their second coach this season, Santiago Solari.
The reasons could be many and though he’s not short of a euro or two, financial considerations will surely have played a huge part.
A promise from Florentino Perez that certain players will arrive or that Zidane will have a war chest of cash to go out and buy the very best is likely to be another.Maybe the motivating factor above all else is the chance to ‘do it all again.’
It’s no secret that when Zidane left last season, he did so in the knowledge that Real Madrid were coming to the end of a cycle, and, it’s believed, because he knew that Cristiano Ronaldo was seeking a way out.
Since then, Julen Lopetegui and Solari have tried, and failed, to replicate the Frenchman’s success.
It will be hard for Zidane himself to do so, particularly as Real were absolutely terrible domestically in his final season.
Only the Champions League wins saved Florentino Perez from wielding the axe, but the president will be delighted that he’s managed to persuade one of Los Blancos’ most legendary sons to take up the reins again.
Whether it will prove to be the right move, only time will tell.
At the very least this season, a Champions League place must be assured, with a view to breaking Barcelona’s monopoly from 2019/20 onwards.
Some players will be cock-a-hoop at the Frenchman’s reinstatement, and even Keylor Navas could win a reprieve.
Clearly all is not well at the Santiago Bernabeu, and desperate times often call for desperate measures. The love Zidane still has for the club is evident purely because of the fact that he’s been willing to take what is a significant professional risk in order to bring Los Blancos back to where they belong among Europe’s elite.
It remains a huge risk for the club too mind, though it’s certainly a more positive appointment than bringing back Jose Mourinho, who was making it quite clear that he would be up for another crack at the job, and also rules out Mauricio Pochettino.
It’s a brave and interesting move, and one that will have Real on all of the front pages again in the lead up to Zidane’s first fixture at home to Celta Vigo.