Just seven months into his three year contract, Rafa Benitez has been sacked as Real Madrid coach.
Real Madrid President, Florentino Pérez, made the announcement at a press conference held at the Santiago Bernabéu on Monday. The announcement comes following the meeting of the club’s Board of Directors.
Perez also announced Zinedine Zidane as Real Madrid’s new head coach. Zidane will be Real’s ninth manager in the last ten years.
The official statement as announced by Perez reads: “Today we have made the difficult decision, particularly for me, to terminate the contract of Rafa Benítez as first-team coach. I wish to underline that he is a great professional and a magnificent person, and I would like to take this opportunity to place on record my gratitude to him for his hard work and dedication during his months as coach of Real Madrid”.
“I would also like to announce that the Real Madrid Board of Directors have decided to name Zinedine Zidane as the new coach of the first team. There can be no doubt that Zidane is one of the game’s all-time great figures. He knows better than anyone just what it means to lead the Real Madrid first-team squad. He’s fully aware of how tough and at the same time how exciting this demanding position is. Furthermore, Zidane knows the players, as many of them lifted the club’s tenth European Cup in Lisbon with him as assistant coach.”
“Throughout his whole life, Zidane has shown an ability to meet football’s greatest challenges, and has always tackled them with dedication and talent. Zinedine Zidane, this is your stadium and this is your club. You have our complete confidence and our support in the task of bringing excitement and entertainment to the supporters in each and every game, and the fans will be right by your side. As of now, you are the coach of Real Madrid and, for me as president, it’s a source of pride to have you by my side because I also know that for you the word ‘impossible’ does not exist.”
Zidane has been in charge of Madrid’s feeder team, Castilla, in the Spanish third division for 18 months, with mixed success. However, he has no experience as a senior coach in the top division of any league. His real test as a head coach will come this weekend when Real Madrid plays against Deportivo at Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid.
Though it will be a testing time for Zidane, he is approaching his new job with a positive mindset.
“What we have to do, and what I’m going to try to do, is make every possible effort to see this team win something this season. I’m going to work as hard as I can and to the best of my ability with all the players, and I believe that everything will turn out well. The most important thing is to get down to work with the team tomorrow,” Zidane said in the press conference, reports the official website of Real Madrid.
“Many thanks to everyone. It’s an important day for me, as I’m sure is the case for everyone, and I’m excited, even more so than when I signed as a player; but that’s to be expected. All I can say is that I’m going to put my heart and soul into this club to try to ensure everything turns out well,” he added.