Former Real Madrid manager, Zinedine Zidane delivered the abrupt news Wednesday that he was stepping down from the position after two years. Zidane is adamant that his primary reason for leaving is to allow the club to find new inspiration and rebuild itself, which is apparently something the team can’t do under his leadership anymore. Then again, this announcement comes four days after Real captured their third consecutive Champions League win. His reason for leaving doesn’t exactly align with the successes he has secured with his team; however, Zidane largely believes in the idea that if you want to keep a winning team winning, then either the players or the coach needs to change every few years.
Evidently, it appears as though Zidane has never been one for till-death-do-we-part-commitments. After all, he did sign as a player for Real Madrid in 2000 under Florentino Perez on a napkin. So maybe this news should have been expected. Not to mention that talk of Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo leaving the team has been circulating. Now with a manager-less team, Real is looking to take on someone new for their next season. Let’s take a look at three potential candidates who can hopefully fill Zidane’s shoes.
The most prominent name that repeatedly keeps coming up is ironically that of Arsène Wenger. The former Arsenal manager was more or less pushed out by the Premier League last month, but now it seems as though the pro soccer world may be welcoming him back. Backed by 22 years of managerial experience, the 68-year-old isn’t looking to retire so this would be the perfect opportunity to keep doing what he loves.
The head coach of Chelsea, Antonio Conte is also being largely considered for the opening. For a while now, it hasn’t been a matter of if Conte was going to leave Chelsea, but rather when. He led the club to victory in his first season, but since then he has struggled with competing in both the Premier and Champions League. He supposedly didn’t get the players he wanted, but if he switched to Real Madrid, then he would have the talent that could support his style of play. Now with Zidane’s position empty, Conte may be more enticed to depart from the Blues.
Although there was talk of another Premier League manager, Mauricio Pochettino of Tottenham to take Zidane’s place, this most likely isn’t going to happen. Pochettino very recently signed a new five-year deal with the club. It doesn’t seem like he’ll be going anywhere any time soon.
If Real is looking to stay within the family, then Guti is ideal. The Spaniard once played alongside Zidane, and as a player was the winner of five La Liga crowns as well as three Champions Leagues. With the Madrid youth club, Guti has successfully demonstrated strong coaching skills, and as of April, he mentioned that he had plans to leave the club in search of “new motivation.” Maybe he’ll find what he’s looking for as Real Madrid’s manager.
There are a few other names being thrown around such as German National coach, Joachim Löw, and Italian coach Maurizio Sarri. Regardless of who replaces the Frenchman, there’s only one thing left to say: Zidane, it’s been Real.