Football

Zidane’s great promise to Real Madrid as he replaces Solari

standardmedia: 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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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.

Real are third in the Liga standings, with Zidane’s job now is just to keep them in the top four and secure a Champions League spot. They have a 10-point lead over fifth-placed Alaves.

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, will 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 midfielder decided to walk away, saying it was the right moment to depart.

The 46-year-old Frenchman, who won the World Cup and European Championship as a player, secured nine trophies as coach at Madrid and is considered a hero by supporters after managing Real in one of the team’s most successful eras.

“The history of this club is not going to change. We all know this is the best club in the world,” added Zidane. “I’m happy to be here and I have to think about Saturday’s game.”

Source: Published by standardmedia

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