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Zidane promises changes at Real

Reuters' Rik Sharma

New Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane after a press conference. REUTERS/Susana Vera
New Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane after a press conference. REUTERS/Susana Vera

MADRID - Real Madrid reappointed Zinedine Zidane as coach on a three-year contract on Monday is promising wholesale changes after the deposed European champions saw their season collapse within a week.

Zidane won an unprecedented three consecutive Champions League titles with the Spanish giants before resigning in May last year, with his replacement Julen Lopetegui sacked in October and Solari lasting just over four months in charge.

Madrid were eliminated from the Champions League in the last 16 by Ajax Amsterdam last Tuesday after two Clasico defeats by Barcelona, knocking Real out of the Copa del Rey and leaving them 12 points adrift of the Catalan Liga leaders.

“Things will change, in every way, we have to change things for the years to come,” Zidane told a news conference at the Santiago Bernabeu after signing a contract until June 30, 2022, raising the prospect of a squad overhaul.

“Now the important thing is that I am back, and there is time to talk and see what needs to be done. Right now, that’s not the issue, we have 11 games to play.”

Real next face Celta Vigo in La Liga at the Bernabeu.
Solari, a former Real Madrid and Argentina midfielder who took over the reins on Nov. 13, had replaced former Spain manager Lopetegui but failed to bring success to the club.

Real have offered Solari the chance to remain at Madrid in a different role if he wants to continue working at the Bernabeu.

Real had won the Champions League for three straight seasons under Zidane, who also lifted the trophy as a player with the club, but they suffered a shock 4-1 loss at home to Ajax to go out 5-3 on aggregate, their earliest exit since 2006.

“When the president called me, I could not tell him no,” said Zidane. “When you have won a lot, sometimes you can have a dip, and this year it has been like that.

“I don’t blame anybody. Lopetegui and Solari wanted to do the best they could for the players, the team and the club. It went how it went, I won’t get into that, we must look forward.”


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