Zinedine Zidane named Real Madrid coach after Spanish giants sack Benitez

(CNN)He’s one of the greatest footballers of all time but will Zinedine Zidane cut it as a coach?

The French icon, who inspired his country to World Cup glory in 1998, has taken over as head coach of Spanish giants Real Madrid following the sacking of Rafael Benitez on Monday.

    Sunday’s 2-2 draw with Valencia proved to be Benitez’s last game in the charge of the 10-time European champion — which sits third in the Spanish First Division, four points behind leader Atletico Madrid.

    Club president Florentino Prez confirmed Benitez’s seven-month tenure as coach had been terminated at a press conference at the club’s Bernabeu Stadium before Zidane briefly addressed the assembled journalists.

    “Firstly I would like to thank the club and the president for giving me the chance to coach this team,” Zidane said.

    “We have the best club in the world and the best fans in the world,” he added.

    While Real supporters never warmed to Benitez, who replaced the popular Carlo Ancelotti in June last year, they adore Zidane.

    Signed by the club in 2001 for a then-world record fee of 75 million ($81m), he scored one of the most memorable goals in football history as Real defeated Bayer Leverkusen in the 2002 UEFA Champions League final.

    Since 2014, Zidane has coached Real Madrid Castilla, the club’s B team which plays in the third tier of Spanish football.

    Former Liverpool coach Benitez endured an uneasy relationship with Real’s fans, not helped by November’s crushing 4-0 defeat to archrival Barcelona.

    Source: http://edition.cnn.com/

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