Zinedine Zidane back as Real Madrid boss
The inevitable sacking of Santiago Solari happened post Real Madrid's elimination from the UEFA Champions League in the Round of 16 last week. The management at Bernabeu lost no time in appointing Zinedine Zidane once again as the manager of the beleaguered Spanish and European giant. Zidane, 46. had left in May last year immediately after leading Los Blancos to their third successive Champions League title.
The French legend will be the Madrid club's third coach within a year after Julen Lopetegui, who took over from Zidane till he lasted until 29 October 2018 when he was sacked followed by Solari, of course, in whose tenure Real totally disintegrated as a side.
In what was probably the most disastrous six days in the club's history (between Wednesday, 27 February and Tuesday, 5 March)
Real were knocked out of the Copa del Rey by Barcelona with a 3-0 home loss and a 4-1 aggregate defeat, followed again by a 0-1 La Liga loss to Barca at the Bernabeu and the final denouement against an unfancied Ajax in the Champions League (4-1 defeat at home, 5-3 on aggregate).
Zidane will almost certainly have a free rein to go for the players that he wants and get rid of a few big names.
Gareth Bale is among the ones with whom Zidane didn't share a healthy equation but it won't be easy getting rid of the Welsh forward.
About to be 30, it would be hard to find anyone wanting to pay more than 75m euros for him and the 12m euros net he is earning annually at the moment.
Zidane was heard saying “It's good to be back home”. But, with no titles in sight this season, the best he could go is to end it on a good note and prepare for bigger things for 2019-20. As one of the many articles on the subject ended “Bonne chance, Zizou!”
Meanwhile there have been murmurs at Stamford Bridge that Wolves coach Nuno Espírito Santo could come in as a surprise replacement for Maurizzio Sarri.
Wolverhampton Wanderers have re-entered the Premier League after decades after playing mostly in the 2nd and 3rd tier leagues and have truly punched much above their weight.
The Wolves owe their impressive 7th position on the EPL table to Nuno Santo whose unconventional tactics have frustrated much tougher opponents.
The wins over Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea in December and the knocking out of Liverpool in the FA Cup in January are some of the watershed moments for Santo in the ongoing 2018-19 season. The 1-1 draw eked out at Stamford Bridge last weekend must have made the Chelsea management sit and seriously take notice of the Sao Tome-born coach.
However, a job for Santo at Stamford Bridge would be a complicated one as a transfer embargo on Chelsea for the next two windows was upheld this week.