Back

BREAKING NEWS: Real Madrid sack Benitez, appoint Zidane

Holly Thackeray | January 4, 2016

Real Madrid dismiss Rafa Benitez

Spanish giants Real Madrid (5/1 with Coral to win the Champions League), famous for their managerial merry-go-round, have sacked coach Rafa Benitez after just seven months in the Bernabeu hotseat.

Real playing legend and former France playmaker Zinedine Zidane, also a Los Blancos Castilla coach, has been appointed as his replacement, Real Madrid president Florentino Perez told press.

The Madrid bigwig stated: “The board has taken a difficult decision – especially for me, to sack Rafael Benítez – a great professional and a magnificent person.

“I’m very proud because I know that for Zidane, the word ‘impossible’ doesn’t exist.”

Despite losing just three of his 25 games across all competitions in charge, there are high standards set in the Spanish capital, where Los Blancos’ board and support were reportedly unimpressed by former Liverpool manager Benitez’s playing style.

Although, during his tenure Real racked-up four or more goals a game on seven occasions, but it is thought a key defeat to Barcelona proved costly, while a recent inability to beat Gary Neville’s Valencia was also criticised, with Los Blancos languishing third in La Liga.

Valencia CF v Real Madrid - La Liga - Mestalla Stadium

In addition, Benitez, a former Real youth coach and player, was said to have ruffled a few feathers in the changing room, with top stars such as James Rodriguez and Isco supposedly seeking moves away.

So, since sacking now World Cup winning Spain coach Vicente del Bosque back in 2003, Los Merengues have given 12 different bosses the boot over almost the same number of seasons, with controversial Portuguese Jose Mourinho clinging to the dugout longest with three terms in charge.

Zidane takes over Bernabeu hotseat

Zidane had long been linked to eventually be given a shot at the big job, and is apparently a popular figure behind the scenes, as well as previously on the pitch.

The Frenchman originally arrived at the Bernabeu for a then world record fee of £45.8m from Italian giants Juventus back in 2001, and went on to win both La Liga and Champions League medals as a player, as part of Los Blancos’ famous Galactico side.

In a short statement, Zidane said: “I thank the club and the president for giving me the opportunity to train the club. It’s the best club in the world and the best fanbase.

“I want to do my very best to ensure the club has a trophy at the end of the season. Tomorrow is when the work starts. It’s an emotional day, even more emotional than the day I signed for the club.”

Related

Check out our live blog for all the latest transfer updates.

Bet Now