It was only 10 months after his resignation that Zinedine Zidane returned to manage Real Madrid. He first stunned those at the Santiago Bernabéu when he departed only five days after leading them to a third successive Champions League title in May 2018, having excelled since succeeding Rafa Benítez. Julen Lopetegui and Santiago Solari then had short periods as the club’s manager before Zidane returned again, in March 2019, and restored a much-needed sense of stability.
He returned, however, to a squad weakened by Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure to Juventus, and where instead of managing a fine collection of players at their peak, he is now being asked to oversee a period of transition and to develop a younger team. “The best manager in the world has rejoined the club,” Real’s president Florentino Pérez said, upon his return. “It has been difficult from the outside looking in,” Zidane said. “I want to put this club back where it belongs.”
With his team securing victory over Villareal in their penultimate league game of this strange season, and with a 34th Spanish championship, the Frenchman has done just that.