Real Madrid: Zinedine Zidane's job safe, whatever happens
With the coronavirus pandemic forcing Real Madrid chiefs to make decisions earlier than planned, Zidane's future as boss beyond the summer has been assured.
The coronavirus crisis has forced the Real Madrid hierarchy to make early decisions in its planning for next season - the most important of which affects the dugout.
AS has learned that, whatever happens between now and the summer, whether or not the rest of LaLiga and the Champions League is played, Zinedine Zidane will be Madrid head coach next term.
Real Madrid had planned to take stock at the of the season, with Pochettino in the frame
As is the case every season, the board’s initial plan was to wait until the end of the campaign and take stock. If Madrid won a piece of major silverware - LaLiga appears to be the trophy most within Los Blancos’ reach - Zidane would be kept on and, in all likelihood, would see out his contract, which runs until 2022.
However, a double failure in the league and in Europe would have opened up a range of possible scenarios that club chiefs were already beginning to consider, with Mauricio Pochettino, who is unattached in the wake of his November departure from Tottenham Hotspur, the leading candidate to replace the Frenchman.
But the upheaval caused by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic - which has left Zidane’s squad in quarantine after Real Madrid basketball player Trey Thompkins, who shares training facilities with the football team, tested positive for Covid-19 - has persuaded Bernabéu bosses to change tack.
Zidane will now remain in his post even if Madrid win nothing when and if the season resumes - although a trophyless campaign isn’t expected. Particularly as Los Merengues have the head-to-head advantage over Barcelona, there is confidence at the club that the Blaugrana’s two-point lead at the top can be overhauled.
Zidane already planning for Real Madrid's 2020/21 season
Zidane and his backroom team have already begun preparing for next season, although their planning is slightly hindered by the uncertainty over timeframes, because the backlog of postponed 2019/20 fixtures means that next term’s LaLiga certainly won’t kick off on the dates originally pencilled in.
‘Zizou’ must decide which players are not in his plans for next season - the likes of James Rodríguez, Álvaro Odriozola, Brahim Díaz, Luka Jovic, Mariano Díaz and Gareth Bale are all candidates - and which of the club’s numerous out-on-loan players (Andriy Lunin, Achraf Hakimi, Sergio Reguilón, Óscar Rodríguez, Martin Odegaard, Dani Ceballos, Takefusa Kubo and Borja Mayoral) he wishes to bring into the fold.
The enforced break from play during the current weeks will offer Zidane the opportunity to give these decisions plenty of thought.
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