Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane is reportedly set to leave the club for the second time as boss this summer.
A report by the Mail says the Frenchman will walk away from the Santiago Bernabeu regardless of if they win this year’s La Liga title or not.
The news follows Goal’s recent story that the senior Los Blancos squad are fearing a ‘tired’ Zidane is ready to step aside, having done so in 2018 following a third successive UEFA Champions League win.
Real are currently five points behind leaders and city rivals Atletico in Spain’s top flight table, but a win at Granada tonight would bridge that gap with two games remaining – and leapfrog Barcelona in the process.
With Raul or Massimiliano Allegri reportedly lined up to replace the former no. 5 in the Spanish capital, it begs the question: Where will Zidane go next?
If the two-time La Liga winning-coach fancies taking charge of a club (or country) soon after leaving, we’ve got some options.
Here are five potential post-Real Madrid destinations for Zinedine Zidane.
Although remembered mostly for his playing days at Los Blancos, Zidane spent another five years at the Turin club prior to his switch to Spain.
The dynamic midfielder lifted two Serie A titles while plying his trade at the Stadio delle Alpi, and has been linked with taking the Juve reins ever since Allegri left the Old Lady.
Juventus ’ nine-year Scudetto streak recently came to an end at the hands of Inter Milan, guided by former boss Antonio Conte, and the club’s struggles under Andrea Pirlo this season have prompted many to call for the Italian’s head.
Potentially playing Europa League football next term and crashing out of the Champions League to Porto at the round of 16 stage, neither domestic or continental campaigns have gone to plan in 2020/21.
MVP Cristiano Ronaldo is in a precarious position with his contract expiring next summer and speculation rife that the Old Lady hierarchy are keen to cash in.
CR7 would surely stick around and continue to thrive under Zidane, who got some of the five-time Ballon d’Or winner’s best goalscoring form of his career out of him in Madrid – 112 strikes in 114 matches.
A romantic return to Turin would make a lot of sense, especially in Juventus’ endeavour to win an elusive UCL trophy.
One club who’d be happy with a slightly less prestigious trophy are Spurs, who former player Ryan Mason is currently taking care of as the board searches for a new permanent manager.
Zidane is a serial winner – with a better recent track record than potentially predecessor Jose Mourinho – so if Daniel Levy and co could bring him to North London, it’d be one heck of a coup.
Real’s attack has always thrived under Zizou’s tutelage and surely the likes of Harry Kane and Heung-min Son would be chomping at the bit if the France World Cup winner arrived.
Compatriots Hugo Lloris, Tanguy Ndombele and Moussa Sissoko could help Zidane settle in, and the desperation for trophies is something the 48-year-old could satisfy, following the silverware-less years of Mourinho and Mauricio Pochettino.
One issue would certainly be Spurs’ defensive woes, and the EURO 2000 winner would likely demand a leader at the back if he was to become a Lilywhite.
Paris Saint Germain
To Pochettino’s current club now, who needed penalties to beat Montpellier last night in the Coupe de France semi-finals – a game symptomatic of PSG’s season.
Having sacked Thomas Tuchel in December, the Argentine gaffer was brought in and expected to grab back first place in the Ligue 1 table, and that hasn’t yet happened.
Sitting three points behind surprise pacesetters Lille with two games remaining, there are rumblings in the French capital that their former defender, Pochettino, could be sacked after just six months if he fails to win the title.
If they do, the Marseille-born boss could finally come home after being linked with the job when Unai Emery departed the Parc des Princes three years ago.
Even if Kylian Mbappe moves the other way to the Bernabeu, the opportunity to manage the likes of Neymar, Maqruinhos, Marco Verratti and former Real Madrid ‘keeper Keylor Navas (plus a Qatar Sports Investments warchest) would likely be mouthwatering.
It would also allow the 108-time capped international to expand his illustrious trophy cabinet by dominating his home nation.
Speaking of his home nation, how about the French national team?
Having ended his time as an icon on the pitch in disgrace back in the 2006 World Cup final, Zidane’s former France and Juventus teammate Didier Deschamps led Les Blues to the last World Cup, but he won’t be in the role forever.
In December 2019, ‘the water carrier,’ Deschamps, told Le Monde that the old no. 10 will manage the national team one day, with the current France boss’ contract expiring after the 2022 World Cup – which isn’t too far away in international football terms.
Potentially working with a crop of players who idolise the former skipper would at least be flattering for Zidane, while Mbappe, Paul Pogba and current Los Blancos defender Raphael Varane are all stars in their own right – not to mention the country’s seemingly never-ending conveyor belt of talent.
Oh, and N’Golo Kante just tore his team apart in the Champions League last week.
This is certainly our least current pick ahead of EURO 2020, but if you take Deschamps’ word for it, it might be our most nailed-on.
Finally, what would no-doubt be the most difficult job of all our potential destinations in terms of improving league position is also our most unlikely.
With his native Marseille outfit in disarray and other European giants seemingly sorted as far as managerial appointments go, Mikel Arteta’s job could be next on the super club market.
Talk of a takeover by Spotify CEO and co-founder Daniel Ek is building momentum, meaning funds could quickly become available at the Emirates to prize Zidane and other stars to the red half of North London.
Another of his former France and Juve teammates, Thierry Henry, might help convince the tactician, too, with plenty of other Frenchmen connected with the club.
Yes, a lot needs to change for this to happen, but it was either the Gunners of the Qatar national team.
Where do you think Zidane should go if he walks away from the Bernabeu? Let us know @MirrorFootball on Twitter.