Zinedine Zidane returns as Real Madrid manager
Zinedine Zidane has returned to the Santiago Bernabeu hot seat. He left after winning three Champions Leagues in a row and a league title, and now returns to Real Madrid who are in disarray - a club with nothing left to play for this season other than qualification into next season's premier European competition, and pride.
The French legend said his goodbyes just 283 days ago, announcing that after two and a half years in charge: "This was the moment and the best for everyone." He will be the club's third coach of the season after Julen Lopetegui, who lasted until 29 October, and Santiago Solari, who in less than a week oversaw a collapse of monumental proportions.
In what is probably the worst six days in the club's history - between Wednesday, 27 February and Tuesday, 5 March - they were knocked out of the Copa del Rey by Barcelona with a 3-0 home loss and a 4-1 aggregate defeat, finally lost any slim remaining chance they might have held of winning the league (a 1-0 loss to Barcelona), and suffered humiliation and elimination against an unfancied Ajax in the Champions League (4-1 defeat at home, 5-3 on aggregate). The 4-1 win against Real Valladolid on Sunday was never going to be enough to save Solari's skin and moves were afoot to appoint a successor before the match had kicked off.
Club president Florentino Perez promised the Frenchman control over the big decisions the team requires in order to entice him back. The idea that he would have decided to return without such a pledge is unthinkable.