Zinedine Zidane: 'I want to put Real Madrid back where it belongs' – as it happened

Zinedine Zidane, the winner of three consecutive Champions League titles, has made his return to Madrid, signing a deal until June 2022

Sid Lowe will be filing later from the press conference but here’s his output already from today.

News piece:

Comment and analysis:

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So, to round off the key points:

  • Florentino Pérez says Zidane is “the best coach in the world.”
  • Zidane: “we all know it’s the best club in the world”
  • Zidane: “I do not want to forget what we won, but also not forget the bad things”
  • The new contract runs until June 2022.
  • Zidane did have other offers but “want to be here”
  • On Ronaldo return: “We’ll see for next year”
  • Zidane is yet to speak to Sergio Ramos
  • The door is open for the likes of Bale, Marcelo and Isco to return to the starting XI

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And who might the targets be? The names of Eden Hazard and/or Christian Eriksen would seem to ring out.

And on replacing the 50 goals Ronaldo’s move to Juventus has left the team without: “I am not thinking yet about signings. The most important thing is to be back at the club, and I am just thinking now about these 11 games. We will have time to look at the rest, with the appropriate people, to plan for next season.”

Sunil tweets in: “I think Zidane watched four games from the last two weeks and said i can’t take it anymore. And accepted Perez’s offer.”

He was asked about some of the players who had lately lost their places: Isco, Marcelo and Gareth Bale: “I’m back with some players who have won a lot, I’m not going to get involved in what happened between them, I want to go back to them, work and do things well already this Saturday.”

So, he’s saying there’s a chance for Gareth Bale?

And that appears to be that, as he poses alongside Paco Gento, Perez, Madame Zidane and an ever swelling band of dignitaries. Raul, Butragueno and Roberto Carlos have all joined the throng. That’s the photo that will be seen around the world.

Peter Oh emails in: “Maybe Zizou’s choice of highwater jeans and boat shoes is a sly reference to the water that the good ship Real Madrid has taken on in recent weeks. Hopefully he will avoid phrasing his return as a homecoming to a “titanic, titanic club”.”

Hopefully, yes.

Zidane is asked if he has yet spoken to Sergio Ramos, and the answer is a simple “no”.

On those who tried and failed to follow him: “I do not blame anybody, Julen Lopetegui and Santiago Solari wanted to do the best possible for the players, team and club. It went as it went. I will not get into that. The only thing is we must look forward.”

“My coaching staff and my second coach will be the same as in my first stage,” he says, which would seem to include the likes of French compatriot David Bettoni coming back into the fold.

What has he been up to since last summer? “Nine months in Madrid, living here, doing my things, recharging batteries, I’m ready to live again as coach of Real Madrid.”

Here he is, clad rather casually below the waist.

Playing to the gallery now, Zidane. He knows how to work this club better than anyone: “The history of this club is not going to change, we all know it’s the best club in the world, I’m happy to be here and I have to think about Saturday’s game.”

Does this suggest Zidane got a call from Ed Woodward at Manchester United? “I had several proposals, but I did not want to leave to other teams , I want to be here.”

Oof, a word on Cristiano Ronaldo, who left for Juventus almost as soon as Zidane left. The door left open perhaps?

It’s not the issue, now there are eleven games and then we’ll see for next year, we all know what Cristiano has been here, it’s the history of this club, he’s been one of the best, but it’s not time to talk about him now.

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Zidane wardrobe choice for the presser: no socks and six inch turn-ups
Zidane wardrobe choice for the presser: no socks and six inch turn-ups Photograph: Susana Vera/Reuters

“We have to finish well and prepare for the new season,” says Zidane. Looks like the Real players don’t get the rest of the campaign on the bench.

The contract is for three years, by the way until June 2022. That runs from the end of this season, rather than is cut off amid a season, though you can never rule out that at Real Madrid.

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The sense here is that this is no stopgap, and that Zidane will be given chance to rebuild. They probably say - and perhaps mean that - every time they appoint a new boss, but Perez will have had some bridges to build to get Zizou back in the fold.

“I am very happy to be back, the most important thing is that. As the president says I am happy to be coming home. I want to work again and put this club where it should be. The only thing for me is to start work tomorrow...The feelings are good, I am happy to be back. I didn’t go too far, as I live here, but I am happy to work with this great club and this squad above all...I do not want to forget what we won, but also not forget the bad things we did all together last year. We lost La Liga, we lost the Copa, we won the Champions ok, but I know where I am.”

Zinedine Zidane takes to the stage
Zinedine Zidane takes to the stage Photograph: Susana Vera/Reuters

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Zidane is now speaking. And he looks typically implacable, as someone who has had 10 months off and had their reputation enhanced might well do.

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From ESPN’s man in Madrid.

Ok, we are underway in Madrid, with Florentino Perez getting us underway in full presidential style. Zidane is sat alongside him with Emilio Butragueno also there. It’s all been one big, horrible dream since May. Now they can live again. Applause as Zidane is unveiled and a storm of flashing cameras.

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Louis van Gaal retired from football today. Was it the realisation he wasn’t going to be handed the big prize?

They are running a little late here.

Can’t be much fun for José Mourinho to see that footage of Real Madrid fans singing his name after that game against Valladolid at the weekend. A game, by the way, that Real actually won 4-1. Tough school they run out there.

It was a hell of a shock when Zidane resigned last time, not least to Pérez.

Zidane would not be the first Real manager to lead and come back again. Alfredo di Stefano, an even greater Real player than Zidane, had two goes at it. And so did John Toshack, who won the 1989-90 Liga title the first time around, but could not repeat that success a decade later. Fabio Capello won a Liga title both times he managed at the Santiago Bernabéu, but left to manage England in 2007, having returned to AC Milan in 1997.

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Here’s Sid Lowe’s story on the prodigal’s return.

It looks like they are happy to have him back.

Preamble

If it seems like yesterday that Zizou stepped down after winning a third Champions League title in three years, that’s because it practically is. The look of bemusement and bereavement on Florentino Pérez as the news was announced proved prescient; Real have been a total mess since that day in late May. Remember Julen Lopetegui and all the fuss that caused for Spain’s World Cup? And how about Santiago Solari? He has proved no Ole Gunnar Solskjær. The big man is back, to paraphrase Wayne Rooney. And José Mourinho, constantly linked with the gig since he was sacked by Manchester United, may now have to start learning Chinese or Russian, or at least dust off that rusty Italian of his. And Gareth Bale will probably needs to get used to playing golf in chillier climes than his back-garden three-holer.

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