Zinedine Zidane returns as Real Madrid manager to replace Solari

Zinedine Zidane said he is "feeling good and very happy to be back" after returning as Real Madrid manager in 10 months.

"Nobody can take the excitement that I have to get back coaching and ensure that the team performs better away from me", he stated in his first press conference as Real Madrid coach. 

Zidane replaces Solari, who was sacked after less than five months in charge, to take over the team until June 2022.

The Frenchman once led Real Madrid to a historic third consecutive Champions League triumph while left the Spanish giants on May 2018.

"I'm delighted to be back working at this great club and with this squad of players. When the president called me, the first thing that I thought about was coming back and here I am. This is an important day and I'm here because I really love this club".

Solari's dismissal was expected after two consecutive home defeats to Barcelona, and a shocking knocked-out in Champions League by Ajax.

However, Zidane comes back with only 11 games left in La Liga while Real Madrid trails leader Barcelona by 12 points and is five points behind second-place Atletico Madrid.

"I return to a squad of players that have won an awful lot. I want to be back with them, work with them and do a good job, starting on Saturday. Our 11 remaining games are the most important thing now".

Zinedine Zidane poses with the trophy after winning the UEFA Champions League at the Olympic Stadium in Kiev, Ukraine on May 26, 2018. /VCG Photo 

Zinedine Zidane poses with the trophy after winning the UEFA Champions League at the Olympic Stadium in Kiev, Ukraine on May 26, 2018. /VCG Photo 

Real Madrid announced Santiago Solari to replace Julen Lopetegui on October 29 after they suffered a big loss in a derby game against Barcelona. After a successful two-week interim, Solari is linked with the club for two seasons and a half, until 2021 on 13 November.

"Real Madrid thanks Santiago Solari for his work done and the commitment and loyalty he has shown to what is his home," the club said.

Jose Mourinho had been linked with a return to the club while Ramon Calderon, who was the president of Real Madrid from 2006 to 2009, revealed that some of the Real Madrid players pushed for Zidane over Mourinho.

“Apart from Zidane, Mourinho was the other choice (for selection). But in the past few days, the leaders in the dressing room (indicating the senior players) had pushed to reject that possibility,” said Calderon.

Bale questions

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has promised Zidane that he has the right to make big decisions in the team in order to entice him back. While it is not a piece of good news for Gareth Bale.

Bale was one of the few to suffer during Zidane's previous spell in charge, with the pair barely on speaking terms in the run-up to the Champions League final.

The relationship between Bale and Zidane broke down when the 2017-18 season finished, which made Bale announced his departure willing at the end of last season's Champions League final. Bale's future now appears in serious doubt unless their relationship can be quickly repaired.

Zidane could take training as early as Tuesday and be in charge of Real Madrid's La Liga game at home to Celta Vigo on Saturday.