Mbappe, Hazard? Returning Real Madrid boss Zidane tipped for HUGE Galaticos spending spree
Zidane – already a playing and managerial legend at Real – penned a contract that runs until 2022 as he replaced Santiago Solari on Monday.Also on rt.com CONFIRMED: Zinedine Zidane reappointed as Real Madrid manager 10 months after leaving club
The Frenchman’s return comes after a period of turmoil at the club which first claimed the scalp of Zidane’s immediate replacement, Julen Lopetegui, in November, and then his successor Solari.
Zidane takes over again with Real sitting third in La Liga, 12 points adrift of table-topping Barcelona, and having been knocked out of the Champions League by Ajax in a 4-1 humiliation at home last week.Also on rt.com Inspired Ajax dump holders Real Madrid out of Champions League
Zidane famously guided Real to three consecutive Champions League titles in his first stint in charge at the Bernabeu, before he sensationally quit during the summer – and Real president Florentino Perez will be hoping the French wizard can work his magic again in reviving the team’s fortunes.
At his unveiling on Monday, Zidane said he had "come back because the president called me and as I love the president and the club," and that "I'm not thinking about signings... I'm only thinking about the 11 [league] games left."
But, ominously, he did add: "There will be time to look at the rest with the relevant people, what's clear is that we will plan for next season."Also on rt.com 'It's your turn next Cristiano': Fans hungry for return to glory days now Zidane's reappointed
Indeed, enticing Zidane back as manager has reportedly come with some caveats, including handing him a war chest for at least three big-name signings, according to Spanish outlet AS.
They report that as well as a substantial pay packet, Zidane has effectively been handed full control over transfer policy at the Bernabeu as he looks to recruit a new set of Galacticos to brighten up Real’s fading stars and replace the now-departed Cristiano Ronaldo.
ZIDANE RETURN MEANS HAZARD-OUS TIMES FOR RIVALS
On that list could well be Chelsea’s Belgian playmaker Eden Hazard, with Real reportedly already making contact with the London club about Hazard even before Zidane was appointed on Monday.
Hazard, 28, will have just 12 months left on his current Chelsea contract at the end of the season, and would be valued in excess of £100 million ($130 million).
He has publicly courted Real in the past, saying “everyone knows the respect I have for Zidane as a player, but also as a manager. He was my idol. For sure, to play under Zidane would be a dream.”
Zidane himself is a known admirer of the Belgian.
While that deal could be complicated by Chelsea’s potential one-year transfer ban from FIFA for allegedly breaking rules on the signing of foreign under-18 players, the impending arrival of US starlet Christian Pulisic could counter that as Chelsea at least have a potential replacement for their star.
Taking that into account, Hazard would be the most likely big-name addition to the Real ranks this summer.
THE FRENCH CONNECTION
As well as raiding Chelsea, Zidane could look to take his spending spree to Paris to snap up young PSG star Kylian Mbappe.
Indeed, whe asked about that possiblity on Monday, Real president Perez joked that "Zidane is French, so he could do something with Mbappe."
When asked whether fellow PSG star Neymar could also be a tagret, Perez jokingly replied: "both."
Other names being touted around for a Bernabeu move include Liverpool forward Sadio Mane, Manchester United's Paul Pogba, and Tottenham's Harry Kane.
While some of those options may seem fanciful given the likely sums involved, they wouldn't be beyond the realms of possilbity for a club known for smashing the world transfer record, especially as they dig deep to bring in Zidane's preferred options.
BALEOUT AT THE BERNABEU?
Incoming stars will mean departures from the Spanish capital, with forward Gareth Bale, increasingly the target of fans’ ire in recent weeks, one player whose future has been thrown into doubt.
Despite their success together, Bale is said to have had a strained relationship with Zidane during the Frenchman’s initial tenure.
It would not be a surprise for Bale to be shifted from the Real wage bill to make way for new signings, with no shortage of Premier League suitors for the Welshman, should he want a return to the UK.
In contrast, one person who could see a reversal in fortunes at Real is Brazilian full-back Marcelo, who has been cast to the fringes of the team this season amid rumors of a potential move to Juventus to join up with former teammate Ronaldo.
Zidane is reportedly keen for Marcelo, 30, to stay and is prepared to give him a chance to work his way back into the team.
So, as Real prepare to flash the cash, clubs across Europe and beyond will be anxious should they receive a call from a club notorious for turning players’ heads - but they will also be on the lookout for some potential bargain buys.