Rafael Benítez out as Real Madrid appoints Zidane their new manager

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Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Real Madrid
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Spanish Rafael Benítez was sacked from the manager post of Madrid-based football club Real Madrid on Monday. Zinedine Zidane was appointed coach replacing Benítez.

File photo of Rafael Benítez in 2015.
Image: Богдан Заяц.

Real Madrid, who went trophy-less last season, sacked Italian Carlo Ancelotti and hired former Liverpool manager Benítez for the season 2015–2016. Rafa had previously won the UEFA Champions League with Liverpool F.C., UEFA Super Cup with Valencia C.F., and UEFA Europa League with London-based club Chelsea F.C. But Benítez with Real Madrid had a win percentage of 68%. With a 4–0 defeat in the El Clásico at Santiago Bernabéu Stadium and a shocking exit from 2015–16 Copa del Rey for including Russian Denis Cheryshev in the squad who was ineligible to play, Benítez was heavily criticised.

Having won only seventeen out of 25 matches with Los Blancos, Benítez’s last match for Real Madrid ended in a 2–2 draw to Valencia in an away match on Sunday; they are third in the La Liga table and four points behind the table toppers and local rivals Atlético Madrid.

Cquote1.svg I’m going to put my heart and soul into this club Cquote2.svg

—Zinedine Zidane

File photo of Zinedine Zidane in 2008.
Image: Raphaël Labbé.

Zinedine Zidane is a former Real Madrid legend and coach of Real’s reserve team, Real Madrid Castilla. Real’s president Florentino Pérez appointed the Frenchman and said Zidane “knows better than anyone just what it means to lead the Real Madrid first-team squad.”

Madrid in twelve years of Pérez presidency has had eleven new managers. Zidane, expressing his gratitude to Pérez, said “I’m going to put my heart and soul into this club”.

Zidane was assistant manager to Ancelotti when Real Madrid won their tenth European Championship. Back in 2001, Real Madrid paid Turin-based club Juventus F.C. £45.8 million to sign Zidane. Pérez said to Zidane, “This is your stadium and your club and you have all our confidence and trust to make the fans excited once more. It makes me proud because I know that for you the word impossible does not exist.”

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