Real Madrid

Candidates to replace Zinedine Zidane at Real Madrid

Mitchell Wilks
All good things come to an end
All good things come to an end / Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Zinedine Zidane's second chapter as Real Madrid manager has ended.

The time was right for him this week to part ways with the club he's won too many Champions League titles with as both a player and boss, and it's time for Los Blancos to go in a new direction.

What Zidane does next is anybody's guess, but what of Real? A team who have ended this season without any silverware after losing out on the Spanish title to rivals Atleti, and without the trillions of euros the Super League was supposed to bring to help them regenerate their squad.

Florentino Perez has had easier times. So here's an article to help him out with who he should pick to fill Zidane's vacated role, ranked by the likelihood of it happening.

7. David Moyes

David Moyes
Run. It. Back. / Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

We never said seriously considered, but think about it, Moysey is on the up.

Give him 12 months in the hot seat, sign Thomas Soucek and Jesse Lingard and let the magic happen. Providing he's improved on his Spanish since his stint with Real Sociedad, that is.

6. Diego Martinez

Diego Martinez
Martinez is one to look out for / Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Fanciful suggestions out of the way, there is a reputation growing around Diego Martinez that has seen him earmarked as one of the brightest coaches in La Liga.

The 40-year-old worked wonders with Granada on a tiny budget, having taken them to the semi-final of the Copa del Rey in 2019/20, and the quarter final of the 2020/21 Europa League.

He recently left his role at Granada and yes, it is definitely too big a step up for him, but Juventus did give Andrea Pirlo a job without him having his coaching badges, so stranger things have happened.

5. Imanol Alguacil

Imanol Alguacil
One for the hipsters / Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Keeping it in-house with the Spanish top flight, Los Blancos could consider Imanol, who is impressing with Real Sociedad, having won the delayed Copa del Rey earlier this year

Imanol sets up with a mix of athleticism and technical ability and could use a 4-3-3 with Real. He'd also been getting the best out of Martin Odegaard during his loan spell with the club.

Again, he may fall when pitted against top candidates, but it's a more subtle option.

4. Joachim Low

Joachim Loew
Low leaves his Germany role at the end of Euro 2020 / Alex Grimm/Getty Images

The outgoing Germany boss is a real tough one. Is he actually any good?

On one hand, Low is literally a World Cup winner who is available after the summer. But on the flip side, Germany haven't been very good in recent times, and he hasn't managed club football since 2004.

If Perez is feeling risky, then this is the stab in the dark approach.

See also: Roberto Martinez.

3. Raul

Raul Gonzalez Blanco
Appointing Raul seems most likely / Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

2001 Ballon d'Or winner and Real Madrid legend Raul has been honing his craft in management in the Castilla setup since 2019.

Madrid hired Zidane through the same process back in 2017, thus the most logical (and cost-effective) appointment would be to replace him in the same fashion.

It is cliché, but he knows the club and has been groomed in the desired management style. It's also cheaper than bringing in a top name from another club, thus a more natural changing of the guard makes sense.

2. Mauricio Pochettino

Mauricio Pochettino
Pochettino could be tempted to Madrid / Alex Grimm/Getty Images

He's barely done half a season at Paris Saint-Germain, but having been knocked out of the Champions League and losing out on the Ligue 1 title, Pochettino's position has come under threat already. He's even being linked with a return to Tottenham.

He's also made no secret of his interest in the Bernabeu hot-seat in the past.

The Argentine demands a physical game from his sides, but gets the most out of players and plays attractive football.

There are still questions over his ability at the very top level, but the Madrid job would test his grit and get him away from a PSG squad littered with egos.

1. Antonio Conte

Conte would re-energise Los Blancos / MIGUEL MEDINA/Getty Images

Perhaps the most underrated head coach in club football, Antonio Conte worked wonders with Inter.

He led the Nerazzurri to a Scudetto for the first time since 2010, having only lost it by a point in the 2019/20 season. Conte's Inter were a bullish force that are hard to break down and even harder to out work.

Conte gets the most out of his squads and is extremely passionate. He will fancy a new challenge too, having won the Scudetto with issues behind the scenes eventually leading to his departure.

There aren't many better candidates.