If Florentino Perez was going to ask, Zinedine Zidane was always going to say yes.
So, on Monday, it was announced to the world that Perez had indeed asked, and Zidane said “couldn’t say no” to the chance to return for a second stint as manager of Real Madrid.
Fewer than 12 months after walking away from the job — with a three-peat of UEFA Champions League glory forever etched next to his name — Zidane said on Monday that his batteries have been “recharged” and “now I’m ready again for the experience of being Real Madrid’s coach. I’m motivated to be coaching again.”
One can only imagine the exhaustive toll of managing arguably the world’s biggest — and, without a doubt, the most demanding — club. Two and a half seasons was all Zidane, still a relatively green manager at the age of 46, could handle. He will almost certainly be better equipped to deal with the stressors of the job the second time around, considering he had never before been a first-team manager.
“I’m very happy to be back home. I’ve recharged my batteries and now I’m ready again for the experience of being Real Madrid’s coach. I’m motivated to be coaching again. What I want to do now is return to work and put the club back where it belongs.”
“I love this club, and when the president called me, I couldn’t say no. I’ll give everything I have to make this club better.”
“It has been difficult from the outside looking in. I have been living here in Madrid, doing my things. … I’m ready to coach this great club again.”
Zidane’s greatest challenge won’t begin until the summer, when he’ll almost certainly oversee a massive overhaul of an aging and expensive first-team squad desperate for an injection of youth and fresh blood. He’s already proven he can steady a (star-studded) ship over troubled waters, but we’ll see if he can build his own juggernaut from the ground up.