Post-Zidane Madrid: swapping Ronaldo for Neymar?

May 31, 2018

The France legend’s departure followed a meeting with Perez in which it became clear Zidane’s blueprint for Real was wildly at odds with that of the hierachy, who want to sign a new goalkeeper and to explore using Cristiano Ronaldo in a deal to sign Neymar from Paris Saint-Germain.

Madrid also want Gareth Bale to start as many games as their other big names.

Zidane — whose exit came just five days after guiding Real to a third straight Champions League title — rejected all such proposals.

Bale and his team-mates were told about the decision just moments before Zidane addressed reporters at the club’s Valdebebas training ground.

‘For many the decision will make no sense, but it does to me,’ he said. ‘It is the moment for a change in order to keep winning.’

Zidane with Florentino Perez, left, the president of Real Madrid, who wants the club to head in a different direction. Their differing visions contributed to the parting of ways

Zidane with Florentino Perez, left, the president of Real Madrid, who wants the club to head in a different direction. Their differing visions contributed to the parting of ways

Zinedine Zidane left his position as manager of Real Madrid on Thursday afternoon

Zinedine Zidane left his position as manager of Real Madrid on Thursday afternoon

Madrid will now desperately try to buy Mauricio Pochettino out of his new Tottenham contract

Madrid will now desperately try to buy Mauricio Pochettino out of his new Tottenham contract

Zidane leaves with Real considering trying to swap Cristiano Ronaldo for Neymar with PSG 

Zidane leaves with Real considering trying to swap Cristiano Ronaldo for Neymar with PSG

Zidane, 45, presided over the most trophy-laden period in the club’s modern history and he will be a tough act to follow.

Madrid will now try to buy Mauricio Pochettino out of his new Tottenham deal. It will not be easy and with other potential targets, Jurgen Klopp and Joachim Low, not interested in leaving their jobs with Liverpool and Germany respectively, the available Arsene Wenger has also been listed among the favoured candidates.

The former Arsenal manager was running last on one online poll on Thursday asking fans who they wanted to take over, but Perez has long been an admirer of Wenger as a statesman of the game and has tried to hire him in the past.

The question any candidate will ask is: how do I follow Zidane? The bombshell of his departure left some at Madrid joking: ‘Well, it has been five days since he last won a Champions League.’

The Portugal star was relaxing in Marbella when he received the news. He addressed Zidane via Instagram, saying: ‘I only have feelings of pride to have been your player. Thanks boss, for so much.’

Other players also paid tribute to their departing coach on social media. Their messages were at odds with Zidane’s claim that ‘after three years this team needs another voice, different methods, that is why I have taken the decision.’

Asked why he thought his methods were not working when the team had just won the Champions League, Zidane said: ‘A moment arrives when you say to yourself that it is best to change things.’

The club's president Florentino Perez looked crestfallen as Zidane made his announcement

The club’s president Florentino Perez looked crestfallen as Zidane made his announcement

The Frenchman leaves the most trophy-laden period in the club's modern history in his wake

The Frenchman leaves the most trophy-laden period in the club’s modern history in his wake

Zidane stepped down just five days after winning his third consecutive Champions League

Zidane stepped down just five days after winning his third consecutive Champions League

In fewer than 900 days in charge, Zidane enjoyed great success in Europe and won one Spanish title. ‘I am a winner and if I have the feeling that it will be difficult to keep winning then a change is needed,’ he said.

‘I prefer to leave things when they are going well. It’s the way I feel now. I am not going to say that this one is to blame or this one.

‘I have taken the decision and that is the end of it. I am not going to say when I decided. I will keep that to myself.’ Zidane made history on Saturday when he became the first coach to win the Champions League for three straight seasons.

Asked if his decision might have been different if he had not won that game, Zidane said: ‘Maybe.’

Things did not go as expected after beating Liverpool. First, Ronaldo suggested he had played his last game for the club, then Bale said he would walk away if he was not playing more.

Those two declarations may have taken their toll on a man who would have expected nothing but praise in the aftermath of his achievement in Kiev.

He is hugely popular with the Madrid fans and Perez hopes he will one day return to the club

He is hugely popular with the Madrid fans and Perez hopes he will one day return to the club

The Frenchman won an astonishing nine trophies during his two-and-a-half years in charge 

The Frenchman won an astonishing nine trophies during his two-and-a-half years in charge

‘I love this club and I will always be grateful for the chance to play and manage here,’ he said. To a chorus of camera clicks from the Madrid media summoned to the training ground just 80 minutes before the announcement, Zidane was, as ever, the embodiment of dignity. ‘Madrid has done everything for me,’ he said.

Perez looked crestfallen alongside one of the most successful coaches in the club’s history. Nobody has won as many trophies in so few games.

Hinting at different plans for the club’s future, Zidane said: ‘If I don’t think clearly that we are going to keep winning, then it is best to leave rather than continue with silly things.’

The 45-year-old said the club needs to continue winning and needs a change of direction

The 45-year-old said the club needs to continue winning and needs a change of direction

His departure could mean Gareth Bale could have second thoughts about his long-term future 

His departure could mean Gareth Bale could have second thoughts about his long-term future

France coach Didier Deschamps said yesterday that Zidane would have the France job one day. Asked about his immediate plans, Zidane said: ‘I’m not leaving to go to another team.’

Having spent five years as a player at the Bernabeu, Zidane coached the B team before taking the top job. He described this departure as a ‘see you later’ and not a permanent goodbye.

Zidane described winning La Liga in 2017 as the pinnacle, but his team finished third this season — 17 points behind Barcelona. Closing the gap will now be someone else’s responsibility.

Rafa Benitez lasted four months when he replaced the popular and successful Carlo Ancelotti in 2015. The new man faces a similarly tough challenge.

Zidane said his best moment was winning the La Liga trophy back in the 2016-17 season

Zidane said his best moment was winning the La Liga trophy back in the 2016-17 season

He insisted he is not looking for another job and that it is 'a farewell not a permanent goodbye'

He insisted he is not looking for another job and that it is ‘a farewell not a permanent goodbye’

SOURCE: dailymail.co.uk


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