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Jun 5, 2013

Perez: Zidane could replace Mourinho

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez believes Zinedine Zidane could become first-team coach at the club, possibly as early as this summer.

With Paris Saint-Germain reportedly unwilling to release Carlo Ancelotti, and departing Bayern Munich coach Jupp Heynckes confirming he is unavailable, Madrid's search for a new man to replace Jose Mourinho looks no closer to resolution so more creative options are coming under consideration.

Perez, speaking to Spanish TV station Telecinco after being confirmed on Wednesday for a new four-year term as Los Blancos president, said the former 'galactico' had all the attributes a Madrid boss would need.

"[Zidane] could be the coach," he said. "He has the qualifications and he is a madridista. We have not yet thought about it because we have been very scrupulous with the steps. But he fulfils all the requirements, for sure."

Zidane was appointed sporting director at Madrid in July 2011, but had little day-to-day interaction with the first team during Mourinho's time in charge, and spent much of last year back in France acquiring his coaching badges.

Perez suggested it might be a little early yet for 'Zizou' to take the top job at Madrid, but did not rule out the possibility.

"It is a subject we need to evaluate," he said. "In the first stage it is a little… I do not want to say risky, but he needs to be battle-hardened."

Ancelotti remains the front-runner for the Bernabeu job, and is apparently keen to move to Madrid, however, the question of his replacement in Paris remains unresolved.

Reports in Spain and France suggest PSG's initial plan was to install Leonardo as an interim coach for the 2013-14 season, with Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger then to come in next summer. However, the nine-month ban the Brazilian received in May for shoulder-charging referee Alexandre Castro after the club's 1-1 draw at home to Valenciennes, has ruled him out of a day-to-day coaching role.

Perez suggested that, given how complicated the situation had become, no decision would be made on Madrid's new boss for a week at least.

"Not this week," he said. "We must look at things and examine them."

Perez has regularly spoken of Zidane as the "leader" of the club's new "sporting project" in recent weeks, however, the Frenchman has yet to reveal his own expectations of the role.

He is currently on holiday, and played in two charity friendlies last weekend - with his World Cup '98 team-mates in Rodez in France on Friday, then at Old Trafford in a Madrid versus Manchester United legends game on Sunday.

A similar legends event against a Juventus selection is being played at the Bernabeu this Sunday, with Zidane reportedly then due back at his office at Madrid's Valdebebas training facility on Monday morning.

Reports in England suggested that Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy turned down a chance to speak with Zidane about a possible transfer for Gareth Bale this week, as Levy preferred to deal directly with Perez.

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