Zidane has just eight days left in his reign at Real Madrid. The French manager will end his second stint at Real at the end of the season.

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Zinedine Zidane leading Real Madrid from the bench in the La Liga game vs Granada. (Image: Twitter / @RealMadrid)

“Zizou” had one year left in his contract, but will not honor it. The 48-year old has already informed his players of the decision, according to Radio Onda Cero journalist Fernando Burgos. Madrid-based newspaper Marca reported that the meeting between Zidane and Real’s players took place last Saturday after the Spanish giants were knocked out of the Champions League semifinals by Chelsea. The Frenchman opened up after the training session and spoke about the need for change in the team. According to Marca, Zidane’s decision is “firm and long thought about.”

Zidane won three Champions League trophies at Real Madrid and hopes to leave with a third La Liga title at the end of the current campaign. Real is now second in the Spanish first division, two points behind arch-rivals Atletico. Real Madrid travels to Bilbao in the Basque region to play Athletic Club (9th), then ends the season at home against Europa League finalists Villarreal (7th). At first glance, Atletico has easier games over the next week. First, they host 11th-placed Osasuna, then meet relegation-threatened Valladolid (18th) in the last round.

Atletico is at -300 to win La Liga this season, with Real at +225, and third-place Barcelona four points behind Atletico at +5000.

Zidane’s legacy at Real Madrid

Undoubtedly among the best midfielders in the history of football, Zidane spent five years at the Bernabeu in his playing days. “Zizou” won the league once (2003), as well as the Champions League (2002), the Intercontinental Cup (2002), the European Super Cup (2002), and two Spanish Supercups (2001, 2003). He ended his career at Real in 2006 before setting his sights on coaching.

He was an adviser to Jose Mourinho starting in November 2010, then became part of Carlo Ancelotti’s coaching staff in 2013. Zidane took charge of Real’s B team in June 2014 and spent a year and a half in the lower divisions. In January 2016, he replaced Rafa Benitez as Real Madrid’s manager.

In just two-and-a-half years, he won three Champions League trophies, one La Liga title, two Club World Cups, two European Super Cups, and two Spanish Super Cups. Surprisingly, Zidane decided to leave in 2018, but returned after just nine months, in March 2019, as neither of his two successors, Julen Lopetegui and Santiago Solari had any significant impact on the team.

Zidane won another league in 2020 and totals 11 trophies as Real Madrid head coach. Only Miguel Munoz, Real’s manager for almost 15 years last century, brought more silverware to Real Madrid’s trophy room at 14.

From a legend to another: Raul could replace Zidane

Florentino Perez trusts Raul Gonzalez, the legendary striker turned manager, to become a top coach. The 43-year-old has been in charge at Real Madrid’s second team since 2019, just missing out on promotion to the second tier with Real B after losing to Ibiza in the playoffs’ semifinals. In his playing career, Raul spent 20 years at Real Madrid before moving to Schalke (Germany), Al Sadd (Qatar), and the New York Cosmos (USA) to end his adventure on the pitch. In Real’s shirt alone, Raul scored 323 goals in 741 official games.

Asked to comment on the possibility of replacing Zidane, Raul said “it’s not the right time to talk. The team is still competing.” Raul said he believes Madrid will beat Athletic Club on Saturday and will still be in the title race next week. When everything is over, he said, “there will be time to see what happens in the future.”

Another favorite mentioned for Real’s hot seat is Max Allegri. The former Juventus manager is a free agent since 2019 when he left Juventus. Allegri won five consecutive titles with the Italian giants after also conquering Serie A with AC Milan in 2011.

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“Raul is the alternative” – Spanish paper Marca wrote on its front page. (Image: marca.com)