Spanish football club Real Madrid have sacked Rafa Benitez as first team coach, after less than half a season in charge, and promoted former France great Zinedine Zidane to replace him.
Club president Florentino Perez made the announcement on Monday. Zidane was previously in charge of the club’ B team. Benitez, who had a contract until June 2018, was dismissed following a board meeting. The former Real and Juventus midfielder is now the club’s 11th coach in 12 years under Club President Perez’s two terms in charge. This is Zidane’s first top-flight management job, although Real did not immediately specify the length of his contract.
Zidane scored a sensational winning goal to hand Madrid the 2002 Champions League as a player, but is short on managerial experience having only ever taken charge of Madrid’s feeder team Castilla.
The 43-year-old failed to get Castilla promoted from the third tier of Spanish football last season, but they currently lie second in the regional Segunda Division B having lost just two of 19 games this season.
The Frenchman was part of Carlo Ancelotti’s coaching staff when Real won the Champions League and Copa del Rey in 2014.
“We have the best club in the world, the best fans and what we have to do now, and what I will try my best to do, is ensure the team wins at the end of the season,” Zidane said.
“I am more emotional than when I signed as a player, but that is normal and from tomorrow I am going to put my heart into doing all I can for this club.”
Zidane will take charge of his first game as boss at home to Deportivo la Coruna on Saturday.