REAL MADRID

Real Madrid in talks with Raúl

The club is keen to find out what the coach's intentions are in case they find themselves needing to fill the first team coaching post.

Madrid
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Real Madrid have begun the search for a substitute for Zidane. The French coach has yet to inform either the club or the players that he will be leaving, but he has hinted that might be the case during the past few weeks - both in his chats with the squad as well as his conversations with club directors. All of whom take it as read that he will step down from the coaching post at the end of the season.

For that reason, Madrid have spent the past few weeks preparing for such an eventuality. One of the moves the club has made, AS understands, has been to talk to Raúl to find out whether he would be open to taking the reins of the first team. Logically, he  would be delighted to, although the main objective of the meetings was to hear what Raúl has in mind regarding his ideas about rebuilding the squad and his working methodology.

Raúl has made it clear that if he takes over from Zidane, he would want to completely rebuild the squad. Many of the veteran players would be moved on because one of Raúl's objectives would be to rejuvenate the team, bringing in younger players both from the youth teams and those who are currently out on loan. For that to happen, some of the older players who are blocking their path to the senior side must leave.

During those conversations, something which they had suspected about the job Raúl has been doing with the reserves became apparent - he is a demanding coach with very different working  methods to Zidane. His profile might appear similar from the outside - both are club legends who received their training with Castilla, but in fact they are both very different coaches. Raúl learned a lot in Germany and uses some of the demanding training ideas which he picked up there, putting a greater focus on physical preparation.

Eintracht offer

Conversations with Madrid began last week, shortly after a visit from several Eintracht Frankfurt officials, who flew to Spain to offer Raúl the chance to coach Frankfurt's first team next season. The Spanish coach is thrilled by the proposal, but asked for time to think it through for two motives - his team have the promotion play-offs coming up and before giving a definitive answer either way, he wants to know what Zidane has planned.

Raúl's representatives informed Madrid about Frankfurt's offer and consequently, conversations turned to the first team coaching post. They told him that he is one of the principal candidates for the job, but not the only one. While Eintracht's offer is appealing, Raúl has put the matter on hold until Zidane gives a concrete answer. That will probably come next week after LaLiga is concluded. But for now, Raúl is one of the favourites to take over from Zidane …