Zinedine Zidane has made a sensational return to Real Madrid – after the players “rejected” Jose Mourinho.
Zidane, 46, was reinstated at the Bernabeu after signing a three year contract having left Real Madrid just ten months ago despite winning a third consecutive Champions League.
But it comes after a dramatic U-turn on former Manchester United and Chelsea boss Mourinho who had been lined up to make his own return to the Spanish giants, after previously having a three-year stint in charge.
Former Real Madrid president Ramon Calderon said: “He (Zidane) will be received well by the players, who were rejecting the idea of Mourinho coming. We are very lucky to have him (Zidane) here.
“It’s a good choice. The other one was Mourinho and I think in the last days the leaders of the dressing room have pushed to reject him.”
It is the second time this season that player power has blocked an appointment as last October the players – led by Sergio Ramos – also stopped ex-Chelsea boss Antonio Conte getting the job.
Mourinho gained a reputation in his first spell at Real Madrid of falling out with the club’s biggest stars, including legendary keeper Iker Casillas.
Incredibly, Zidane will be Real Madrid’s third manager this season as former Spain boss Julen Lopetegui’s short reign ended in disaster and the sack after less than three months in charge.
Ex-youth team boss Santiago Solari was sacked on Monday less than a week after Real Madrid crashed out of the Champions League after a shock defeat to Ajax to leave the club in crisis.
Calderon added: “He (Zidane) rejected the chance to come, left it open to return in June but has now been persuaded to come now.
“Of course it’s risky because it’s difficult to do what he did in the first time that he was here. He proved that the idea that Benitez and Mourinho had that you need a strong hand, you don’t need that.
“He is an idol here, he was as a player and as a coach of course, winning three Champions League titles in a row.”