The footballing world was shocked on Monday with the news of Zinedine Zidane reappointment as manager of Real Madrid.
The Frenchman stepped down from his Bernabeu post just ten months ago after becoming the first coach in history to win the Champions League on three successive occasions.
Zidane left because president Florentino Perez refused to grant him excessive funds for a squad overhaul that he claimed was necessary.
But that has now changed due to the team’s downward spiral – and we look set to be about to witness one of the biggest spending sprees in football history with around £300million set to be spent.
But how could Los Blancos line-up next season under the Frenchman? talkSPORT.com has assessed all the possible ins and outs and given their verdict…
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Style of play
Zidane was seen as more of a man manager in his first stint in charge at Real rather than a coach who offered concrete tactical solutions to problems.
His formation was primarily a standard 4-3-1-2 but that often morphed into a 3-5-2 with Casemiro dropping into defence and emphasis on Marcelo and Carvajal attacking very high up the pitch and linking with the midfield.
In his standard 4-3-1-2 Casemiro was used as the sole defensive midfielder, with Luka Modric and Toni Kroos playing alongside each other further forward.
Modric was the main ball carrier in the middle of the park and Kroos the main distributor.
Zidane preferred three up top were Karim Benzema, Isco and Cristiano Ronaldo – with Gareth Bale featuring mainly from the bench and often for Isco.
Benzema would drop deep to link the play and Ronaldo he was the main target man in the side.
Real Madrid line-up vs Liverpool in UCL final 2018…
Bale has been making the headlines frequently in recent weeks and that is not about to stop.
He is the most likely to depart following Zidane’s arrival as he is reportedly unpopular with his team-mates and also unpopular with the supporters, despite often rising to the big occasion and boasting a superb goal-scoring record since his record-breaking arrival.
Zidane preferred Isco in his line-up when he was manager and he swerved questions about the Welshman in his first press conference on Monday.
It seems as though as Bale’s Bernebeu career may well be coming to an end and he could be the first to depart in the summer.
Real Madrid are reportedly using him as bait to lure Eriksen to the club, while Manchester United have also shown interest in the winger in the past.
Before Zidane returned as manager, the end was seemingly nigh for Marcelo and Sergio Ramos.
But that has all changed following his return and according to AS, Marcelo is very much part of Zidane’s plans.
Ramos is also a firm favourite with the Frenchman and is the only leader in the squad.
With the signing of at least one winger in the summer likely, Marco Asensio’s Real Madrid future is now in doubt.
Possible formations with new signings
Zidane has reportedly been promised three ‘big-money’ signings in the summer.
This is a frightening thought for Real’s competitors – with Eden Hazard, Kylian Mbappe, Neymar, Christian Eriksen and most recently N’Golo Kante linked to a switch to the Spanish capital.
With three of those five players wingers, one can expect that at least one of them will be signed in the summer and Zidane will therefore facilitate the need for two wingers in a front three.
The most obvious signing would be Hazard, who has long dreamt of a move to Los Blancos and idolises Zidane.
The Chelsea star, who is out of contract next season, will take up the left-wing position.
Should Real have more of an eye for the future, a move for Neymar would be the more expensive option – and as Neymar and Hazard both favour the left side you can’t imagine both will be signed in the window.
Chelsea are unlikely to let both Hazard and Kante go without replacing them due to their transfer ban – so a if a move for Hazard is completed they may turn to Eriksen – who has also been stalling on a new deal and has been regularly linked with a move.
Have a look at the potential line-up below…
Another option Zidane has is to go against signing Hazard.
He is an admirer of the Belgian but he could go against signing the 28-year-old to build more for the future.
This would accommodate a move for his reported prime target N’Golo Kante as Chelsea would only sell one of their prise assets – if any.
With Kante signed, Zidane then has two more big signings on the table – and president Perez has said if he can sign both Neymar and Mbappe he would.
Have a look at the potential line-up below…