Real Madrid reappoint Zidane as coach to replace Solari

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Real Madrid reappoint Zidane as coach to replace Solari

MADRID: Real Madrid have reappointed Zinedine Zidane as coach on a three-year deal following the sacking of Santiago Solari, the club said on Monday, after the European champions’ season collapsed inside a week.

“Real Madrid’s board met today and decided to end the contract linking Santiago Solari to the club as first team coach and, at the same time, have offered to keep him at the club,” Madrid said in a statement.

“The board have named Zinedine Zidane as the new coach to be incorporated immediately for the rest of the season and the next three, until June 30, 2022.”

Frenchman Zidane won an unprecedented three consecutive Champions League titles with the club 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 on 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.

Solari, a former Real Madrid and Argentina midfielder who took over at the Bernabeu on Nov. 13, had replaced former Spain manager Lopetegui but failed to bring success to the Bernabeu.

Real had won the Champions League for three straight seasons under Zidane but lost 4-1 at home to Ajax to go out 5-3 on aggregate, their earliest exit since 2006.

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The 42-year-old Solari was in charge of Real for 22 games in all competitions, losing eight and drawing two, and helped the Spanish giants claim the FIFA Club World Cup in December.

Solari leaves Real third in the Liga standings, with Zidane’s job now to keep them in the top four.

Barca beat Real 1-0 in the league at the Bernabeu on March 2 just three days after winning 3-0 in Madrid to knock their arch-rivals out of the Copa del Rey in the semi-finals.

Solari’s side thrashed Real Valladolid 4-1 on Sunday in his final stand as coach. Zidane, who won the World Cup with France as a player, is expected to take charge of training on Tuesday.

Zidane, who took over at Real in January 2016 after Rafa Benitez was dismissed, won the Champions League that season, before claiming a La Liga and European Cup double in 2017.

Five days after a third triumph in last season’s Champions League final over Liverpool, the former Real Madrid midfielder decided to walk away, saying it was the right moment to depart.

The 46-year-old won nine trophies at Madrid and is considered a hero by supporters after managing Real in one of the club’s most successful eras.

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