Implications after Zidane return

Real Madrid did not even make it one year without Zinedine Zidane. After Lopetegui and Solari could not weave the same magic the frenchman did for almost 3 years, Madrid went back for their talismanic manager.

This could have serious ramifications in the Madrid team but also elsewhere in Europe.

See also: The downfall of Julen Lopetegui

There is no doubt that if Zidane, a man who will do whatever it takes to win and keep winning, has decided to come back to coach his old team, he comes back having guaranteed Florentino Perez will let him do things his own way and provide him with a treasure chest for any player he requests.

Zidane will try to relieve some of his old guard of their duties and bring in new talent to Madrid.

Replacing Ramos?

Two days after his appointment, Madrid agreed a deal for Brazilian defender Eder Militao from FC Porto. The player will join with his new team at the end of the season. Militao can play at right-back and can also be a ball-playing center back. He could very well be the long term replacement for Sergio Ramos.

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Picture from flickr

Eden Hazard

Zidane is a known long time Hazard admirer. Having refused to sign a new contract at Stamford Bridge, the Belgian could follow in the footsteps of Thibaut Courtois in swapping London for Madrid. While Hazard is no Cristiano Ronaldo, he would be an adequate replacement for the Portuguese star on the left flank.

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Picture from flickr

Kylian Mbappe

PSG might be another team to bear the brunt of Zidane’s second appointment. Mbappe is french just like Zidane and grew up while the latter was ripping the pitch in Europe for club and country. If Zidane asks, the young Mbappe might have a difficult time saying no.

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Picture from flickr

The Qatari club will surely play hardball. They do not need the money and given their stated goal of bringing the Champions League trophy to Paris, will do anything to keep a talent like Mbappe. However, the fact that the Champions League keeps on eluding them might tempt stars like Mbappe to leave for more proven winners (e.g. Madrid and Zidane).

Paul Pogba

This one is a long shot. Pogba is also a player Zidane admires and vice versa. The french midfielder, when on form, is one of the best in his role. He would be a perfect replacement for Kroos or Modric in Madrid’s midfield. Pogba has not yet signed an extension at United but there’s still some time left on his contract.

Pogba came through United’s academy and has mentioned his desire to win the Premier league with his boyhood club multiple times, a feat he has not yet achieved.

Solskjaer’s appointment has resulted in Pogba producing his best football in Manchester. He might just stay at Old Trafford longer but we all know what happens when Madrid comes calling.

Christian Eriksen

The Danish playmaker is currently one of the world’s most complete midfielders and given the relatively low paying contracts Spurs hand out, it might not be too hard for Madrid to prise him away.

Zidane’s triumphs came on the back of two great creative midfielders in their prime: ballon d’or Luka Modric and World Cup winner Toni Kroos. This season it’s looked like they have burned out.

Should Madrid decide they want to get rid of them, Pogba and Eriksen should be prime candidates.

Gareth Bale & Benzema

Bale has not enjoyed a perfect relationship with Zidane. The coach has preferred to build the team around Ronaldo and partnering him with the work horse that is Benzema. Now that Ronaldo is gone, Zidane might make Karim Benzema ahis attacking focal point, meaning Bale could be on his way out.

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Picture from flickr

Last season, Bale played from the bench a lot and this season has been a repeat under Solari. I don’t see a player of Bale’s calibre putting up with this any longer. His tenuous relationship with the fans does not help either. He might jump ship and go back to the EPL.

Vinicius, Vasquez, Asensio

Youngsters Vinicus Junior, Lucas Vasquez and Asensio can expect to play more and more under Zidane. Vasquez and Asensio played a lot in Zidane’s last Champions League winning campaign. Vinicius looks quite mature for an 18-year old and Zidane will nurture him into a world beater.

Goalkeepers

Keylor Navas was instrumental in the three Champions League titles Zidane brought to Madrid. Since Zidane left, he has been replaced by Thibaut Courtois, who was signed as a Galactico. Now that Zidane is back, Navas will have a fair shot at the number one position. If Courtois underperforms, Zidane will have no issue keeping him on the bench.

We are all curious to see how Zidane’s return will pan out. Will he have the same success as before? Or will he burn out at Real Madrid? I think the success of the past three years will not be repeated but Madrid will at least challenge for all honors next season.

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