Five contenders to replace Zidane at Real

Chris Young Chris Young

After a hat-trick of back-to-back Champions League trophies, Zinedine Zidane has announced that he is leaving the hotseat at the Bernabeu.

But who is in line to succeed Zidane in one of the biggest managerial jobs in the world after his hugely successful two-and-a-half year spell in charge of Real Madrid? Here are five of the top contenders.

Arsene Wenger
The shelf life of a Real Madrid boss isn’t a lengthy one, with Jose Mourinho the only manager to have stayed in charge longer than Zidane over the last 15 years.

If Real are looking for a short-term option, then could they recruit anyone better than Wenger after his departure from Arsenal? Wenger was a target for Real president Florentino Perez for much of his 22-year spell with the Gunners, and despite turning 68, the Frenchman has shown no inclination to retire.

Wenger does not want to manage another Premier League club after such a lengthy association with Arsenal, and there would be no sense of trepidation at taking a vacancy of this size.

Mauricio Pochettino

Mauricio Pochettino
If Real are looking for a long-term option, then Pochettino has to be considered the firm favourite, despite only penning a new five-year contract at Spurs earlier this week.

There were multiple reports last season that Pochettino was on Real’s radar, if Zidane was to leave the Bernabeu, and the Argentine has done little to hide how appealing he would find the job.

Spurs will not let Pochettino leave without a fight, yet after spending much of his playing career in La Liga with Espanyol, the 46-year-old looks an obvious choice for Perez.

Antonio Conte
Lifting the FA Cup is unlikely to be sufficient to prevent Conte leaving Chelsea this summer after the club’s title defence resulted in them failing to qualify for the Champions League.

Conte boasts an outstanding CV after lifting the Premier League and Serie A with Chelsea and Juventus respectively, and that may appeal to Real, as they look to wrestle the championship back from Barcelona.

Real promoted from within in January 2016, when they decided to appoint Zidane after the club legend had been managing the reserve team.

Like Zidane, midfielder Guti enjoyed a trophy-laden career as a Real player after winning five La Liga titles and three Champions League trophies in more than 500 appearances for the club.

Guti is now coaching Real’s youth team, yet it would represent a major gamble if Perez hands him the reins.

Luis Enrique

Luis Enrique
If Real wanted to stun the football world, then appointing ex-Barcelona manager and player Luis Enrique would be an earth-shattering move.

Enrique is being linked with some of the biggest jobs in European football this summer after a year away from the game, following his spell at the Nou Camp.

Given his Barcelona links, Enrique has to be a rank outsider, but it would unquestionably be an appointment to raise a few eyebrows!