Zidane turns down offer to replace Xavi at Al Saad

According to reports from Mundo Deportivo via Telemadrid, Zinedine Zidane has turned down an offer from Qatar Stars League side, Al-Sadd, to replace former manager Xavi Hernandez, who left for Barcelona earlier in November.

Spanish football journalist, Ramon Fuentes reported via Mundo Deportivo that Zinedine Zidane is still enjoying his break from active management, and will only return immediately to management if the Paris Saint-Germain or France national team job becomes available.

Zinedine Zidane fits the bill for Al-Sadd, who is seeking for a name as big as Xavi to take over from the Catalan, who left the club after six trophy-laden years, two of which was spent as head coach.


Zidane not eager to return to coaching

Zidane got into club management dynamics in 2010 after an appeal from then Madrid coach, José Mourinho for the legendary midfielder to work more closely with the team. In the following years, he would become the assistant coach to current head coach, Carlo Ancelotti in his first stint at the club.

In 2016, Zidane was appointed Real Madrid head coach and lead the club to their most successful period in the past two decades, winning eight trophies which included a UEFA Champions League hat trick. He would resign five days after the third Champions League triumph, stating mental stress and a need for change at Real Madrid.

The France and Real Madrid legend returned to the club in 2019 after his successors failed at the club, and left active management for the second time at the end of the 2020/21 season, after leading the club to another LaLiga win, his second as a manager.

Zidane has been touted as a replacement for embattled Manchester Untied manager Ole-Gunnar Soskjaer since the start of the 2021/22 season, and only became an option for Al-Sadd after Xavi left. However, Zidane had previously expressed a distaste for management during his time at Real Madrid. At the moment, it seems the Frenchman will be enjoying a much needed sabbatical from football.

“I won’t coach for 20 years, I will retire before that,” Zidane said in a press conference during the 2020/21 season. “I spent almost 18 years as a player and I said I would never be a coach. Now I am and it wears you out a lot. We will see but not for 20 years, that’s for sure.”

Al-Sadd seeking to maintain royal status at the top of Qatar Stars League

Xavi left Al-Sadd top of the table with eight wins and one draw from nine games. The club hierarchy believes that Zinedine Zidane fits the bill in both name and managerial talent to keep their club at the top. Al-Sadd is the most successful club in Qatar winning 15 of the 50 titles that have been competed for since the league began.

Zidane, however, is rumoured to be learning English, which could mean a U-turn on his refusal to take up the Manchester United job.


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