Reports in Spain suggest that Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane has decided to leave the club at the end of the season.
We look at what might be behind that decision.
What has happened?
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According to Telemadrid, Zidane had decided that he would leave Real regardless of whether or not they win La Liga. Other reports say that the World Cup winner told his team before their game against Sevilla last weekend.
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With two games remaining, Real are two points behind Atletico Madrid. Zidane has seen his side knocked out of the Copa del Rey in January this year, and the team were comprehensively defeated by Chelsea in the Champions League semi-final, so there is a real chance that the side will end without a trophy under the Frenchman.
Why has Zidane chosen to go now?
If true, there are suggestions that Zidane has grown tired of his responsibilities with the club. The stresses of running the biggest club in the world, without any new signings last summer, as well as the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, has left him exhausted. If he is able to win the league this season it would be the second time he has secured back-to-back Liga titles.
Real has had to deal with more than 60 injuries so far this season, which suggests that it is not just the coach who is growing fatigued with the current situation.
Zidane has cut a less friendly and content figure in front of the press this season, and he has apparently lost patience with the demands placed upon him in front of the media.
Image credit: Getty Images
Who could replace him?
Spanish newspaper AS have claimed that Eintracht Frankfurt are keen to bring in Real Madrid’s B team - Castilla - boss Raul Gonzalez as the manager of their first team.
They have already entered into discussions with the Real legend, but with Castilla in the promotion playoffs, he has not yet made a final decision, and he may in fact be waiting for Zidane’s exit before seeing if he can step up to lead the first team.
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There are other options, with a number of big name coaches out of contract this summer.
Max Allegri has been out of work since leaving Juventus and, while he is believed to be interested in a move to the Premier League, it is hardly likely he would turn down the biggest club in the world.
Jogi Low is taking one more run at a major international tournament with Germany before departing the scene, and may be keen to step into day-to-day management.
Another possibility is Carlo Ancelotti, who is apparently happy at Everton, but is well respected at his former club.
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