News ID: 240130
Published: 0312 GMT March 12, 2019

Zidane the returning hero to have 'unprecedented' power at Real: Spanish media

Zidane the returning hero to have 'unprecedented' power at Real: Spanish media
Zinedine Zidane attends a press conference after being appointed new Real Madrid manager in Madrid, Spain, on March 11, 2019.
PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP

Spanish media on Tuesday hailed Zinedine Zidane's surprising restoration as Real Madrid coach as the "return of the hero" and said the "savior" was also the "last shot" of the struggling European champion.

Real president Florentino Perez "had pulled from his hat a rabbit called Zinedine Zidane," wrote Barcelona daily Mundo Deportivo, AFP reported.

Another Barcelona-based daily, Sport, said "Zizou" is "the savior" who is also Real's "last shot to survive their crisis."

In Madrid, sports daily Marca wrote, "He is back and his priority is to rescue and revitalize a struggling squad that has been on a downward spiral ever since his departure on May 31, 2018."

The 46-year-old Zidane replaced Santiago Solari on Monday and signed a contract until 2022, with the club eliminated from the Champions League, a trophy it won three times under Zidane, and the Spanish Cup and a distant third in La Liga.

"Zidane was the standout favorite for Florentino Perez and the Real Madrid president was willing to do whatever it took to get him back on side," continued Marca. "It seems it only required two conversations to twist his arm."

AS, a Madrid-based paper, quoted Zidane as saying, "I could not say no."

"The incoming boss has also been assured that he will be fully in charge of every aspect of the running of the team, including signings," wrote AS, pointing out that this was "unprecedented power" for a Real coach.

"Zinedine Zidane's return as Real Madrid coach banishes the specter of Jose Mourinho, who a jittery Florentino Perez had been toying with bringing back," wrote Alfredo Rebeno in AS, adding that Zidane "brings a crucial measure of peace to the Bernabeu."

Rebeno also said the problems at Real stemmed not from the departure of Zidane last summer but the sale of Cristiano Ronaldo.

"(Zidane) worked wonders in his first stint with 'Los Blancos' and now, 284 days later he is back where it all started for him back in 2001 and everyone connected with the club will be hoping that his second spell in charge will be just as fruitful as his first," wrote Marca.

 

'Three superstar signings'

 

News of Real's coup and photos of Zidane also covered the front pages of general newspapers in Spain.

"Zidane is back at Real Madrid with carte blanche to renew the squad," wrote El Pais saying the Frenchman's task was to "lift a team that is living its darkest hours."

The Spanish media quickly started speculating which players Zidane wanted to keep, which ones might be on the way out and who he might ask Perez to buy.

AS said Zidane had been promised "three superstar signings."

Marca wrote that "the squad will play for its future," adding that Spain midfielder Dani Ceballos, who had criticized Zidane, might be in trouble and asked readers who was the biggest loser, with a list that included Ceballos, Gareth Bale and goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.

Sport reported that when asked if he wanted Kylian Mbappe or Neymar from Paris Saint-Germain, Perez laughed and said, "Zidane is French so he could do something with Mbappe."

Sport listed Mbappe as one of the four top targets. The other three are Eden Hazard of Chelsea, who it said Real had already agreed a firm option on, Paul Pogba of Manchester United and Sadio Mane of Liverpool. Christian Eriksen of Tottenham was another name cited by some papers.

 

‘Changes in every way’

 

Meanwhile, Zidane promised wholesale changes after the deposed European champion saw its season collapse inside a week.

 “Things will change, in every way, we have to change things for the years to come,” Zidane told a news conference at the Santiago Bernabeu, Reuters reported.

“Now the important thing is that I am back, and there is time to talk and see what needs to be done. Right now, that’s not the issue, we have 11 games to play.”

Real next faces Celta Vigo in La Liga at the Bernabeu.

“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. [Julen] 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.”

“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.”

 

   
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