Zinedine Zidane has returned as coach of Real Madrid, just 284 days after walking away from the club. The Frenchman, who won three consecutive Champions Leagues in two-and-a-half years at the Santiago Bernabéu, has been convinced to take over again – signing a new contract until June 2022 – following a week in which Madrid were defeated three times in a row at home. Zidane replaces Santi Solari with immediate effect and will be in charge for the remaining 11 games in the season.
Solari had become increasingly desperate as manager following a torrid week that included a 3-0 home defeat to Barcelona in the Copa del Rey, another home loss to the Catalan side to effectively end their La Liga ambitions and a shock exit from the Champions League after a 4-1 humbling by Ajax at the Bernabéu. Despite Solari stepping aside, the Argentinian will retain a role at the club and the president Florentino Pérez will face the media at 7pm GMT (8pm in Madrid) on Monday, alongside Zidane, for an official statement.
“The Real Madrid board of directors, which met today, Monday 11 March 2019, has decided to terminate Santiago Solari’s contract as first-team coach, whilst Real Madrid have offered him the opportunity to remain at the club,” read a club statement. “Real Madrid wish to thank Solari for his work, commitment and the loyalty that he has always displayed towards this club, which is his home.”