The coronavirus crisis has forced the Real Madrid hierarchy to make early decisions in its planning for next season – the most important of which affects the dugout.
AS has learned that, whatever happens between now and the summer, whether or not the rest of LaLiga and the Champions League is played, Zinedine Zidane will be Madrid head coach next term.
The Frenchman has a contract at the Bernabeu until 2022 but Real’s hierarchy intended to assess his position in the summer, with former Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino considered to be a potential replacement.
However, according to AS, the coronavirus pandemic has prompted the Spanish side to make an early decision on the managerial situation, meaning Zidane’s future is assured.
Real were two points behind leaders Barcelona after 27 games played when the Spanish league was suspended because of the outbreak of Covid-19.
While wining the title remained a realistic prospect, Madrid faced an uphill challenge to secure European glory after losing 2-1 at home to Manchester City in the first leg of the Champions League last 16.
Failure to win either of those competitions would normally have spelled the end for Zidane, who returned to the Spanish capital last March having won three successive Champions League titles during his first spell in charge.
However, these are not normal times, and nobody knows if Madrid would have gone to the Etihad and beat Pep Guardiola’s Manchester side in the Champions League or overtaken a poor Barcelona side in the league.
The test for whether Zidane still has power at Real Madrid will come this summer, if he is able to persuade Real Madrid president Florentino Perez to sign Manchester star Paul Pogba this summer. Zidane wanted to sign Pogba in 2019 but Perez said no. If the French international ends up in Madrid this summer, that will be the clearest indication that Zidane has been able to maintain his power, despite a poor season on the pitch.