Zinedine Zidane returns as Real Madrid coach | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 11.03.2019
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Zinedine Zidane returns as Real Madrid coach

After a disastrous season so far, Real Madrid have replaced coach Santiago Solari with club legend Zinedine Zidane, just 10 months after the Frenchman left the club. He has signed a three-year deal until 2022.

Real Madrid Trainer Zinedine Zidane (picture-alliance/empics/M. Rickett)

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane has returned to the club for a second stint.

Zinedine Zidane has made a surprise return to Real Madrid as head coach just 10 months after he left the Spanish giants.

A tumultuous two-week period for the club, where they were knocked out of the Champions League, the Spanish Cup, and fell 12 points behind bitter rivals Barcelona in the domestic league, convinced president Florentino Perez and the Real Madrid board to sack predecessor Santiago Solari.

Former Real midfielder Zidane left the club in May after securing the club's third straight Champions League trophy and it was rumored he would find a new club in the European summer.

But the 46-year-old has surprisingly decided to return to Real Madrid on a contract until 2022 and said he never had any doubts when president Perez called him.

"I could not say no. I never had any doubts about going back," Zidane said in his first press conference.

"I'm very happy to be back home. I've recharged my batteries and now I'm ready again. I want to return to work and put the club back where it belongs.

"I've been watching the season closely and I'm also not happy with how things have gone. We have to see what we can do to improve and make sure things can be different going forward."

Solari was sacked following two losses to Barcelona within four days, which effectively ended their chances of winning domestic silverware, and a 4-1 defeat at home to Ajax in the Champions League, which saw them crash out of the prestigious tournament 5-3 on aggregate.

 A club statement read: "Real Madrid's board met today and decided to end the contract linking Santiago Solari to the club as first team coach and, at the same time, have offered to keep him at the club.

"Real Madrid thanks Santiago Solari for his work done and the commitment and loyalty he has shown to what is his home."

It has been a disastrous season for Real Madrid since Zidane decided to step down following the Champions League final victory over Liverpool, with successor Julen Lopetegui sacked just two months into the season and Solari struggling to recover the team's fortunes.

js/em (DPA)