Zinedine Zidane is set to return to Real Madrid in their hour of need and coach them out of the darkness, such is word emanating from the Spanish capital.
Initially reported by La Sexta and subsequently corroborated by MARCA, the two papers are both claiming that Zidane will replace Santiago Solari within the next 48 hours.
Solari stepped up from the academy side and took over first-team coaching duties when Julen Lopetegui was fired earlier this season. Lopetegui was the man saddled with replacing Zidane, who departed the previous May, shortly after winning a three consecutive Champions Leagues with Los Blancos in the space of three seasons.
Real have struggled since, which we firmly suspect has more to do with losing Cristiano Ronaldo, the club’s greatest, most prolific player ever, rather than anything Solari has attempted to establish.
Anyway, as MARCA have it, Solari is likely to be sacked on Monday evening with the Real board due to hold a meeting at 18:00 local time.
Solari is already clear that he is in his last hours as coach and this morning has said goodbye to everyone at Valdebebas (training ground).
The club considers that the situation is unsustainable and that it is necessary to change the coach.
Zidane is expected to be installed immediately thereafter, with an official announcement due on either Tuesday or Wednesday, when he takes training for the first time.
As per La Sexta, Florentino Perez’s grand plan is to have Solari stick around as an assistant first-team coach working with Zidane, depending on whether or not Solari actually wants to stay on.
Is it wise for Zizou return? With things the way they are at Real, it’s only likely that he’ll tarnish an imperious record he purposefully left unblemished – a record that was largely carved out by virtue of having Ronaldo rampaging at his absolute phenomenal peak.
We’re not so sure and even if he does, why not just wait until the end of the season? It’s not like there’s anything left to salvage before then.