Head Coach > Zinedine Zidane

Real Madrid: the list of candidates to replace Zidane

Zinedine Zidane will not continue at Real Madrid after a frustrating season

Zinedine Zidane will not continue at Real Madrid after a frustrating season.
Zinedine Zidane will not continue at Real Madrid after a frustrating season.

Last week it was confirmed that Zinedine Zidane will not continue as Real Madrid coach, after a season that was very far from meeting the established objectives. In that sense, the leadership headed by Florentino Pérez already has a list of several candidates to fill the vacant place left by the French coach. 

Zinedine Zidane will not continue at Real Madrid after a frustrating season.

In the list that we offer below, we exclude Mauricio Pochettino. The Argentine coach is to Florentino Pérez's liking, but in the last hours it was made official that he will continue in Paris Saint Germain despite having differences with Leonardo, the Sporting Director of the French club.

Raúl González

He’s Mr. Real Madrid. If there’s anyone who can put the club ahead of personal ambition and help navigate the ship during the turbulent months and years ahead, it’s the steady, dependable, and stoic Raul. His standing at the club should afford him a longer leash with the fans and his legend would only grow if he can overachieve with the squad he’s handed. 

He may also be more inclined to promote younger academy players in lieu of the star signings that won't be coming. The 43-year-old has been coaching in the Real Madrid youth system “La Fabrica” (The Factory) for the past three seasons, and by all accounts, he has shown he has the mettle to make the jump. Reports paint the picture of a serious, detail-oriented manager who commands the locker room and demands commitment, professionalism and respect for the institution from his young players.

Those who have followed his teams describe a playing style that would also dovetail well with Zidane’s: tactical flexibility and the empowering of players to show personality and problem-solve on the field.

Xabi Alonso

Another Real Madrid fan favorite who left a coaching job with Real Madrid’s youth teams to cut his teeth in Spain’s lower divisions with a different organization: Real Sociedad B (aka Sanse). He led the team to promotion to the Spanish second division for the first time in 59 years. (As a point of comparison, Raul’s Real Madrid’s Castilla team also competed in the third tier league, but fell short in the promotion playoffs.)

The 39-year-old Alonso is said to have strong ideas about the game — during his career he soaked up ideas from the likes of Pep Guardiola, Jose Mourinho, Rafa Benitez and Carlos Ancelotti — and an ability to effectively communicate them to his players.

But Alonso has time and he doesn’t seem in a rush for a big job: “I want to go at my pace and follow my own path [as a coach],” he told Movistar in a recently released video. “I’m at Sanse, and it’s where I want to be.” Given Real Madrid’s current state, it’s probably wise for Alonso to be patient.

Plus, it would also not seem fathomable that Real Madrid would bypass Raul for Alonso, who might prove a better option after Raul should the latter show he’s not cut out for the job.

Antonio Conte

Conte just left Inter Milan after winning a Serie A title because of the impending cost-cutting measures at the club. Why would he take a job at another club that is facing similar financial uncertainty?

He was linked to Real Madrid in the past and the rumors won’t go away as long as he’s a free agent. Conte’s uncompromising style would potentially be a great fit in a tough job, but given Real Madrid’s current predicament, it’s unlikely he’d trade one cash-challenged club for another.

And based on the latest rumors, Tottenham Hotspur and the Premier League might be calling any minute.

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