Real Madrid set to re-appoint Zidane after Solari is sacked

Esteban Granero

Esteban Granero

But there has been a feeling within the squad in recent weeks that Pochettino was preparing to stay for at least another season - a belief reinforced on Monday by the news that Zinedine Zidane has replaced Santiago Solari at the Bernabeu.

Zidane quit not long after Madrid won the Champions League title last season, saying that he and the club needed a change in command to keep succeeding.

He has been heavily linked with the Chelsea job in recent months, due to the pressure on current manager Maurizio Sarri.

Zidane spent just over two years in charge of Real Madrid and won three Champions League titles with the Spanish giants - beating Liverpool 3-1 in the final in his last game in charge of the club last summer. Lopetegui and Solari wanted to do the best they could for the players, the team and the club.

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Of course, it remains to be seen how Zidane will shake up the pack upon his return, and Ceballos and Llorente may feel that their performances under Solari puts them in good stead for game time under the new boss, but Bale will have his work cut out for him if he is to establish himself as Madrid's great hope.

That's not the club Zidane left behind. I am looking forward to working with the players again, to competing again.

He was not involved in Sunday's win at Real Valladolid having ended the Ajax match with an ankle injury. We have enormous respect for the position and we always support the Real Madrid coach.

Only this summer will he consider returning to football.

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Real crashed out of the Champions League in the last 16 with a 4-1 loss to Ajax last week, their fourth straight home defeat.

Zidane will take his first training session on Tuesday before returning to the Real dugout against Celta Vigo at the Bernabeu on Saturday.

Asensio and Benzema did feature under Scolari, but the latter - without Cristiano Ronaldo's presence - is sure to flourish under the guidance of his countryman, while Asensio will be keen to show he can help improve Madrid's goal tally after the Portugal captain's absence. The Wales global fell out of favour with Zidane during the Frenchman's final season in charge, and his return may force Bale to consider his future should he get the impression that he'll once again be on the peripheries of the starting XI.

Paper Round's view: Plumping for a former manager is rarely the best way to move forward, but in this instance it is hard to deny it is a shrewd piece of business from Perez, as well as Zidane himself, while the prospect of Mourinho would have created more problems than it was worth.

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