5 possible replacements for Zinedine Zidane at Real Madrid
Written by: Rohan Philip
Some of these names could do wonders at the Santiago Bernabeu but will also need to address some pressing player discontent.
Days after Real Madrid legend, Zinedine Zidane made history by winning three Champions League titles in as many seasons with Los Blancos, he announced his departure from the club. This news came as a surprise to the supporters and left them wondering just who will be given the responsibility of taking over what is arguably the hardest job in world football after the Frenchman’s departure.
We at Khel Now have compiled a list of the five most likely candidates to succeed the 45-year old at the Bernabeu.
5. Maurizio Sarri
The 59-year-old Italian was released by Napoli last week to make way for the arrival of former Madrid boss, Carlo Ancelotti. Sarri managed to do something that not a lot of managers have done in Serie A in the recent past, by putting up a serious challenge to Juventus for the title.
Although, Napoli would eventually fall short, Sarri was praised for the free-flowing attacking football that he brought to the club from Naples, a very similar style of football that we have come to expect from Real. Although, it looks very likely that the Italian will be taking over from Antonio Conte at Chelsea, the chance to coach at the Santiago Bernabeu might prove to be too much to resist.
4. Antonio Conte
Conte is out of favour at Stamford Bridge
Antonio Conte took up the hot-seat at Chelsea after a very successful Euro 2016 campaign at the helm of the Italian national team. He led the Blues to the Premier League title in his first season at the club with a mammoth total of 93 points.
However, after a summer of transfer frustrations and a fifth-place finish this season, it looks extremely likely that Conte will be the victim of Chelsea owner Roman Abramovic’s itchy trigger finger. With the Madrid job opening up, the Italian is almost certainly going to throw his hat in the ring if he is released by Chelsea this summer.
Zidane’s former teammate and fellow Madrid legend Guti now coaches Los Blanco’s U-19 team and has had tremendous success. Seeing how Zidane himself was promoted to head coach of Real Madrid after coaching the Castilla, it is not out of the realms of possibility that the Madrid club will look to Guti as his successor. The Spaniard spent 15 very successful seasons at the club as a player and truly understands its ethos, just like Zidane.
2. Mauricio Pochettino
The Argentinian took his place at the helm of a Tottenham side with a lot of potential, but one that carried around a lot of deadwood. He replaced ageing and underperforming players and transformed the London side into one of Europe’s brightest young teams. His sides consistently put in attractive performances with goals from all over the park. The situation he faced at Tottenham could soon be the case at Real Madrid, with several members in the side, on the wrong side of 30.
It would take a manager with an eye for youth and a willingness to give them a chance to prove himself in the big games and set this right and Pochettino seems like the perfect man to do just that. However, it might prove to be a challenge to pry him away from Spurs with Daniel Levy having recently tied him down to a new five-year deal.
1. Arsene Wenger
Wenger is currently without a club
The veteran Frenchman announced the termination of his 22-year-long association with Arsenal earlier this year. Wenger has often fielded sides with world-class levels of style and panache, having nurtured the likes of Thierry Henry and Robert Pires to becoming Premier League legends.
If he was to take over at Real, he would be presented with a squad of the highest calibre and it could prove to be just the test Wenger was looking for following his departure from the Emirates. Wenger has stated publicly that he has turned down Real Madrid in the past, but the story might be slightly different this time around if Florentino Perez comes calling.
Fans of the Galacticos looked on with a heavy heart as their legend, Zidane announced his departure from the club he loves so much, on Thursday. The person who takes over from him will find themselves having to fill the shoes of a man who took on the weight of expectations that standing at the touchline at the Santiago Bernabeu brings with it, succeeded and then left on his own terms. Big shoes indeed.
Published: Sat Jun 02, 2018 02:20 PM IST