Zinedine Zidane set to replace Santiago Solari

Author: BBC Sport
Zinedine Zidane

Ten months after parting ways with Real Madrid, Zinedine Zidane is set to return as  manager to the Spanish giants , according to European football expert Guillem Balague.

The Frenchman will replace Santiago Solari, who was in charge for less than five months.

Former Real midfielder Zidane, 46, left in May after leading the club to a third straight Champions League trophy. Currently Real are  third in La Liga, 12 points behind leaders Barcelona and have also been kicked out from the UEFA Champions League.

After a shock Champions League exit to Ajax,  Solari is set to be sacked .That 4-1 home defeat and 5-3 aggregate loss to the Dutch side was the final straw for Real president Florentino Perez.

The defeat by Ajax followed two consecutive defeats by Barcelona in El Clasico - a 1-0 loss in La Liga and a 3-0 thrashing in the Copa del Rey.

Zidane stepped down following the Champions League final victory over Liverpool, and Julen Lopetegui was hired as his successor just before the World Cup where he had been due to lead Spain, who promptly sacked him.However,four and a half months later it was Real's turn to fire him.

Reserve-team boss Solari came in as caretaker before being given a contract to 2021 on 13 November.

Despite returning just nine months after he left the club, Zidane faces a rebuilding job at Real Madrid after their Champions League dynasty came to a remarkable, humiliating end last week.

They have not adequately replaced Cristiano Ronaldo, who left for Juventus in the summer, with Karim Benzema the only Real player to reach double figures in La Liga (13). He has scored 22 goals in all competitions, with Gareth Bale on 13 and Sergio Ramos on 11.

None of those players have certain futures at Real, with captain Ramos, who has been at Real for 14 years, reportedly falling out with president Perez. Wales forward Bale is  also expected to leave because of a fractious relationship with the club's fans - who have booed him recently - and players.

Other stalwarts of recent glory like Marcelo and Toni Kroos have struggled to maintained their forms which pushed the Spanish giants to successive continental glories.