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Friday, April 19

La Liga

Real Madrid

Zidane insists he is ready to coach Real Madrid again after recharging batteries

PA | 1mo
Zidane has answered a plea to return from club president Florentino Perez.

Zinedine Zidane has returned to Real Madrid with recharged batteries and no regrets after signing a three-year contract to replace the sacked Santiago Solari.

Ten months after leaving the Santiago Bernabeu having steered the club to a third straight Champions League trophy, Zidane answered a plea to return from club president Florentino Perez.

He rejoins a club reeling from last week's Champions League exit at the hands of Ajax and currently 12 points behind LaLiga leaders Barcelona, but said he was relishing the challenge ahead.

Zidane told a press conference: "I have been living here in Madrid,  doing my things. But I have recharged my batteries. I'm ready to coach this great club again.

"When I left, it was the best decision for everyone. The team and the squad needed a change. There is nothing more. Nine months passed and the club called me again."

In a statement on Monday, Real confirmed the departure of Solari – who had himself taken over from the sacked Julen Lopetegui in October – but said the former Real player had been offered the chance to stay with the club.

Zinedine Zidane, right, is back at Real (Mike Egerton/PA)

"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," read the club statement.

"The board of directors also agreed on the appointment of Zinedine Zidane as head coach of Real Madrid with immediate effect for the remainder of the season and the next three campaigns, until 30 June 2022."

Zidane will return to the Real dugout when they face Celta Vigo at the Bernabeu on Saturday.

Despite the inevitable plaudits – with Perez hailing Zidane as "the best manager in the world" – continued continental success could not hide domestic failures during his previous reign.

Zidane walked out having overseen a LaLiga season in which Real trailed in third place, behind both city rivals Atletico and champions Barcelona, who finished 17 points ahead, hinting at the problems to come.

He admitted: "Last season we won the Champions League, but we had a tough time in the Copa and in LaLiga. I did a lot of things wrong.

"When you won a lot, it's normal that you have a dip. I watched from outside but it's as if I was still here.

"I am not happy with what has happened. We need to look at what is missing. First we need to look at what we need now, and after that, what we need for the coming seasons."



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4Arsenal33206766402666
5Chelsea34206857362166
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd33197763441964
7Leicester CityLeicester34145154645147
8Wolverhampton WanderersWolves33138124142-147
9Everton34137144644246
10Watford33137134748-146
11West Ham UnitedWest Ham34126164252-1042
12Bournemouth34125174961-1241
13Crystal Palace34116174046-639
14Burnley34116174260-1839
15Newcastle UnitedNewcastle34108163243-1138
16Southampton3399153954-1536
17Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton3396183253-2133
18Cardiff CityCardiff3494213063-3331
RFulham3455243276-4420
RHuddersfield TownHuddersfield3435261967-4814
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