Zinedine Zidane ‘eyes three clubs’ for managerial return after France and Man Utd snubs

Champions League winner Zinedine Zidane has been biding his time over a managerial comeback since leaving Real Madrid for a second time at the end of the 2020-21 season

Zinedine Zidane is a three-time Champions League winner as a manager

Former Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane is said to only be open to three managerial posts, with the France and Manchester United jobs no longer on the table.

The 50-year-old was linked with the Old Trafford job in 2021 after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was sacked, but United ultimately hired Ralf Rangnick on an interim basis before moving for Erik ten Hag in 2022. At the time, it appeared Zidane was eager to wait for the France job to become available, only for Didier Deschamps to remain in the post after reaching the World Cup final.

Zidane’s entire managerial career to date has been in the Spanish capital, with the former midfielder taking charge of Real Madrid Castilla, the reserve side, before two spells in charge of the first team. Thanks to three Champions League triumphs and two La Liga titles, his reputation remains high and he may yet be able to pick and choose when it comes to his next job.

According to The Athletic, there are three posts for which Zidane would be prepared to make his comeback. One of those would be a third stint with Los Blancos – he first stepped away in 2018, returning only when Julen Lopetegui’s stint ended just a few months in – though this could require some legwork on the part of club president Florentino Perez.

“I am going because I feel that the club no longer gives me the trust I need and doesn’t offer me the support needed to build something in the mid and long term,” Zidane wrote in a letter announcing his departure published by Spanish outlet AS in 2021. “Over the last few months, I would have liked my relationship with the club and the president to have been a bit different to that of other managers.”

The other two options being reported are Juventus – where Zidane spent a number of years as a player – and hometown club Marseille. However, in both cases, there could be obstacles to a move.

Zinedine Zidane has not returned to management since leaving Real Madrid in 2021
Zinedine Zidane has not returned to management since leaving Real Madrid in 2021

Juventus, who won the most recent of their 36 Serie A titles in 2020, had been climbing the table before being hit with a 15-point deduction in relation to the ‘Plusvalenza’ scandal. If the Bianconeri’s appeal against the decision proves unsuccessful, they will face an uphill battle to secure European qualification.

Marseille, like Juve, were eliminated from this season’s Champions League at the group stage. The Athletic’s report suggests that Zidane would only be open to a move to Stade Velodrome if the Ligue 1 giants are in a position to compete for top honours, something which is not currently the case.

Real Madrid, meanwhile, enjoyed an impressive first season under Zidane’s successor, Carlo Ancelotti. They won La Liga and the Champions League in the 2021-22 season and are still in contention for both trophies this term, though they have a long way to go to retain their crowns.

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