Zinedine Zidane, one of the greatest midfielders in soccer history, is set to embark on a new journey. Two years after he began coaching Real Madrid’s B Team, the French legend has been called upon as the new boss of Los Merengues.
Earlier on Monday, Rafael Benitez was sacked after seven months in charge. Benitez, 55, was let go off his duties after a lengthy board meeting among club members. The final straw came after Sunday’s 2-2 draw against Valencia, which left Real Madrid third in the La Liga standings, four points behind league leaders Atletico Madrid. Benitez’s final record at Madrid: 17 wins, 3 losses and 5 draws from 25 games. Those numbers aren’t too bad. But Madrid have lofty standards.
“I am going to put my heart and soul into this job so that everything works out well,” said Zidane, a former Real Madrid player and 1998 World Cup champion.
Zinedine Zidane given full control
Florentino Perez, president of Real Madrid, revealed his words to Zizou after the board meeting on Monday afternoon. “I told him: This is your stadium, your club, you have all our confidence. Madridismo is at your side. As president, I am proud to have you by my side. I know for you, the word ‘impossible’ does not exist,” said Perez before hailing Zidane as “one of the greatest figures in football history.”
Incidentally, Zidane is the 11th coach to be appointed in Perez’s 12 years at the helm across two stints. The question is: will the Zidane experiment work out as expected? Perez is yet to offer an explanation for dismissing Benitez, who has coached the club’s youth teams and has unparalleled knowledge about Spanish football. “I am here to say that the board has just decided, a difficult decision, especially for me, to end the contract of Rafa Benitez as first-team coach. He is a great professional and a magnificent person, and we thank him for his work during these months,” Perez said Monday.
Meanwhile, English legend David Beckham – a teammate of Zinedine Zidane at Real Madrid between 2003 and 2006 – shared his thoughts in an Instagram post (See below).
Does it get any better than this ?? A man that has been the best at a game we all love , taking over of a club that myself and many more people love… Someone with drive , passion and also doesn’t accept failure on any level.. Taking over from a manager that has huge experience and respect in the game , but taking on a position that he will relish … THE BEST PERSON FOR THE JOB 🇪🇸 @realmadrid
— Jimmy Conrad (@JimmyConrad) January 4, 2016
Real Madrid fans react to the news that Rafa Benitez is being sacked today! pic.twitter.com/ej4XkP7HsT
— GeniusFootball (@GeniusFootball) January 4, 2016