REAL MADRID have confirmed that Zinedine Zidane has returned as manager – but how will the appointment affect the squad?
The Frenchman previously enjoyed a stunning two-and-a-half years in charge at the Bernabeu, guiding Real to one La Liga title and three consecutive Champions Leagues.
But the Spanish giants have struggled since Zidane decided to step down at the end of last season.
Julen Lopetegui lasted just four months at the helm and his replacement, Santiago Solari, has been shown the door following last week’s Champions League exit at the hands of Ajax.
Zidane is reportedly set to be handed a hefty transfer budget in order to restore Real’s place among Europe’s elite.
“Ramos will have breathed a sigh of relief that it isn’t Jose Mourinho returning.”
And while some players will benefit from Zidane’s return, a summer spending spree could cause a few to reconsider their future.
Despite a stunning performance in last season’s Champions League final triumph over Liverpool, Bale hit out at Zidane over his lack of playing time.
“He didn’t talk to me about it,” he told FourFourTwo when asked about being named on the bench.
“I still haven’t spoken to him since. I wouldn’t say we were best mates, it was just a normal professional relationship.”
The Welshman made it clear he’d seek a move if Zidane remained in charge and with Manchester United and Chelsea both reported to be keen in recent weeks, Bale will likely welcome a Real Madrid exit this summer.
The Frenchman’s form suffered massively during Zidane’s final season in charge, returning just five goals in 32 La Liga appearances.
Real have been linked with a number of high-profile attacking signings this summer, including Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Eden Hazard.
The Spanish giants will want instant return as they look to recover from what’s been a miserable campaign.
And Benzema will undoubtedly be among those sacrificed as Zidane seeks guaranteed firepower up front.
Zidane’s appointment won’t be unwelcome for some of Real’s squad.
Ramos was imperious as captain during the three successful Champions League campaigns.
And while the defender has performed well throughout his career regardless of manager, Ramos will have breathed a sigh of relief that it isn’t Jose Mourinho returning.
The Portuguese was linked with the post having been sacked by Manchester United in December.
Ramos famously didn’t get on with his former boss and reports had suggested he’d look to quit the club if Mourinho came back.
The Croatian enjoyed the best campaign of his career last season under the stewardship of Zidane.
Modric was pivotal in Real’s success and he continued his momentum into the World Cup where he helped his side reach the final.
The 33-year-old defied the odds to beat Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi to win the Ballon d’Or.
And he’ll be desperate to work under Zidane’s guidance again following claims he’s past it after struggling against Frenkie De Jong in Real’s defeat to Ajax.
Isco is another player that shone under Zidane and has stalled this term.
The Spaniard has made just five league starts and was axed from the squad last weekend after failing to attend Solari’s pre-Ajax team meeting.
Isco produced the best football of his career under Zidane and was deservedly rewarded with a new five-year deal in 2017.
And after consistently being linked with a Premier League move, Isco may now see his long-term future at the Bernabeu.