Zinedine Zidane sensationally resigned as head coach of Real Madrid last week, just days removed from their third consecutive Champions League triumph. Inevitably, the footballing world is already deep in debate about who will replace the outgoing Frenchman – with Cristiano Ronaldo also allegedly naming his preferred candidate.
The likes of Mauricio Pochettino and Jurgen Klopp have been named in the international sports media as potential replacements for Zidane, with Real Madrid president Florentino Perez said to be keen on the former option, who is the current manager of Tottenham in the Premier League.
However, amidst constant doubt over his future at the Santiago Bernabeu, Real’s undisputed number one star, Ronaldo, may also have some influence in Los Blancos’ decision. And, according to Spanish publication Diario Gol, the Portugal captain has his heart set on playing under a seemingly unlikely manager next.
Former Denmark international and Real Madrid veteran Michael Laudrup, whose managerial stints have included spells at Mallorca and Swansea, is a 33/1 outsider for the job when betting with Bethard and well down Perez’s shortlist – if even on it at all. However, Ronaldo is said to prefer the 53-year-old over the likes of Klopp, Pochettino and Arsene Wenger due to his technical prowess as both a player and coach, and his willingness to respect the senior players in Madrid’s squad.
Laudrup has been at the helm of Qatari side Al-Rayyan since 2016, having been managing in the country since parting ways with Swansea in 2014. Certainly, if Real are to acquiesce to the demands of their influential forward, the Dane would surely be tempted to a return to Europe to manage one of the world’s greatest teams.
For his part, Ronaldo cast further doubt on his own future with Los Blancos following his side’s 3-1 Champions League final triumph over Liverpool last week. After initially speaking sentimentally about the club, telling reporters “it has been very nice being at Madrid” and that he would confirm his plans in “in the coming days”, Cristiano has since backtracked somewhat in subsequent interviews, but importantly, has yet to commit his future to Real by putting pen to paper on a long-tabled contract extension.
It is highly unlikely now that the Portugal captain will make an announcement on where he sees his future until after the World Cup concludes next month, but Real may use the intervening time to do everything they can to keep their prize asset. The first step towards achieving that goal could be to appoint a manager Ronaldo sees himself working with.