Zinedine Zidane tipped for top at Real Madrid as Ancelotti faces pressure
Zinedine Zidane is being tipped as a future Real Madrid first-team coach amid reports suggesting that club president Florentino Perez has been especially upset by Saturday's 4-0 defeat at Atletico Madrid.
Former Madrid star Zidane is currently in charge of the club's Castilla B-team, having spent the 2013-14 campaign as Ancelotti's assistant with the senior side, and has been touted as an eventual successor to the Italian.
Former AC Milan, Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain boss Ancelotti led Madrid to success in the Copa del Rey and Champions League during his debut season, but doubts over his future have arisen after Saturday's "derbi" humiliation, which followed last month's La Liga defeat to Valencia and Copa del Rey exit to Atletico.
Zidane's ex-France teammate Eric Abidal told "Al Primer Toque" that the former "Galactico" had been a phenomenal player and had the attributes to be a Madrid manager in future.
"The player who moved me most has been Zidane," Abidal said. "At the start I just watched him on the TV; when I was with him on the pitch, I really saw how good he was. Intelligent, humble, he won everything ... and he did not look for recognition from other people. I see him as a Madrid coach."
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Former Madrid midfielder Michel, meanwhile, has also long been tipped as a future Bernabeu boss but he told Elite Sport magazine recently that he viewed Zidane as Ancelotti's most likely successor.
"I do not see myself as the eternal candidate," the ex-Getafe, Sevilla and Olympiakos coach said in quotes picked up by AS and Marca after Saturday's loss. "It is not that I do not aspire to the job, of course I do and I feel capable of doing it, but it is not up to me or the results. Plus, I believe the club is preparing a lot more for the next coach to be Zidane."
However, Zidane recently said that he hoped Ancelotti would sign a new contract, with his current deal having entered its final 18 months, as the Italian remains "the best coach for Real Madrid," and Michel agrees.
"Ancelotti is an ideal coach for Real Madrid," he said. "He does not want to be the main man -- he moves well in these waters. He has had men like [Milan's Silvio] Berlusconi and [Chelsea's Roman] Abramovich as presidents, and knows very well what to do when he opens the dressing-room door, and also what they will ask him when the boardroom door opens."
Michel's comments circulated alongside widespread reports that Perez is deeply unhappy with Saturday's embarrassment, and Marca's cover on Tuesday said he had "firm words" with both coach and players during a visit to Madrid's Valdebebas training ground on Monday.
AS said that the entrepreneur asked Ancelotti for "explanations" as to what had gone wrong against Atletico. Perez then reportedly told the players they needed to get their focus back and return to the form that brought 22 consecutive wins before the recent winter break.
There were also apparently "fewer jokes" at the session, with some squad members still unhappy at the celebratory photos and videos that emerged from Cristiano Ronaldo's 30th birthday party on the night of the Atletico defeat.
Fans outside Madrid's training ground made their feelings known with a banner that read "Your laughter, our shame," referring to the squad members -- including James Rodriguez, Marcelo and Luka Modric -- enjoying themselves at the event.