By Soccer Lafuma and KickOff
Zinedine Zidane shocked the football fraternity this week, when he announced he would be stepping down as Real Madrid manager, and LaLiga expert Guillem Balague thinks he knows why the tactician resigned.
The Frenchman made his decision just days after he guided Los Blancos to a third successive UEFA Champions League crown, becoming the first manager in history to do so.
After the final in Kyiv, two of the Spanish side’s biggest stars, Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo, cast doubt on their futures, and according to Balague, these actions had a lot to do with Zidane’s exit.
“Cristiano Ronaldo, instead of celebrating with his teammates, decided to talk about his future, and there were doubts about the future of Gareth Bale,” Balague said, as quoted by the Daily Star.
“This will have a big influence on Bale, the disappearance of Zidane. All in all, he felt that the distance between players and manager, the authority of the manager, had been hurt. That is why he had to leave. He senses that the players need something new, they need a new voice.
“To actually manage the situations that are coming up now, cases like Ronaldo and Bale, these players have been complaining. “Zidane probably feels that ‘if the players do not want to talk to me, they are not listening to me, I am not the one to take all that on board and change the dynamics’.
“He feels it is up to someone else to come in and deal with it.”
Who will replace Zidane at Real
In the wake of Zinedine Zidane’s surprise exit from Real Madrid, KickOff.com takes a look at the top five candidates tipped to succeed the Frenchman.
After three UEFA Champions League triumphs with an overall record of nine titles during his two and half year stay, his successor will be tasked with an attempt to sustain their dominance on the European stage.
1. Joachim Löw
The 2014 World Cup winning coach emerged as the early favourite yesterday but with the upcoming 2018 edition in Russia starting in just over a week, the 58-year-old quickly ruled himself out of the contention.
2. Mauricio Pochettino
The Tottenham head coach has long been tipped as a potential Real candidate, even prior to Zidane’s appointment.
However, since being linked with the job, the former Espanyol coach has taken an ambiguous approach – with an understanding that he would be keen on the switch but only with the blessing of his current employers.
A club legend like Zidane that has earned plaudits for his work within the LaLiga side’s academy structures.
Guti understands the ethos of the club better than any of the names currently linked with one of the most demanding jobs in European football.
However, the unprecedented success of Zidane could sway President Florentino Perez to opt for a more experienced option.
Despite Zidane being a rookie upon his appointment, the risk of hiring Guti or another academy option Santiago Solari remains an outside chance.
3. Arsene Wenger
There have been no real signs or indication of Los Blancos interest in the former Gunners boss.
However, with the Real hierarchy seeking more experience, the Frenchmen who build a dynasty with the Londoners over a 22-year reign could prove an astute appointment.
Despite Wenger’s well-documented shortcomings at Arsenal during the latter stages of his tenure, he remains one of the most respected and successful tacticians in the history of the game.
5. Michael Laudrup
Another surprise contender for the job, the Denmark legend’s agent has claimed Perez has already made contact.
The former Real midfielder has experience of managing in LaLiga during a stint with Real Mallorca.
“Last night nobody knew Zidane’s plans. That’s why it’s all new to everyone,” his agent Bayram Tutumlu told Dutch news outlet Ekstra Bladet.
“But, of course, I’ve been in contact with people in the club, and Michael Laudrup is a candidate for the job.”
Comment on this report: Call/text/whatsapp: (+27) 834767918