Former Real Madrid ace Zinedine Zidane announced his resignation as head coach of the team on Thursday. This marks the end of the Frenchman's second spell as Los Blancos manager after his previous exit from the Santiago Bernabeu in 2018.
Needless to say, whoever takes over from the Frenchman will have big shoes to fill. Massimiliano Allegri was understood to be the favourite to assume the role of head coach at Real Madrid. However, the Italian coach has agreed to rejoin Juventus following Andrea Pirlo's sacking.
This has put the board at the Bernabeu in a difficult situation as they will now have to look at other options in the market.
On that note, let's look at the 3 candidates who could replace Zinedine Zidane at Real Madrid.
Raul is currently the manager of Real Madrid's B team. He could follow in the footsteps of Zidane, who also rose through the ranks after managing Real Madrid Castilla.
This gives Raul an edge over other candidates on the list as the club legend is already familiar with the workings of the club and their aspirations.
However, there is a drawback of promoting from within the club. Raul has never managed a top-level club and doesn't have any experience in coaching teams at the senior level.
#2 Antonio Conte
Antonio Conte could join Real Madrid on the back of a terrific campaign with Inter Milan that saw them lift the Serie A title after 11 years. The 51-year-old is a free agent, having parted ways with the Nerazzurri due to disagreements over the club's financial policy.
Conte is a manager with a lot of character and inflexible in his man-management and coaching style. He could use a tough-love approach which could inspire Real Madrid to climb back to the summit of the division.
This Italian's management style contrasts Zidane's as the latter was known for managing the dressing room well and prioritising the happiness of his players.
#1 Mauricio Pochettino
Mauricio Pochettino has been touted as the ideal candidate to succeed Zidane at Real Madrid. Pochettino has failed to make an impact at PSG. Les Parisiens narrowly missed out on the Ligue 1 title and were also knocked out of the Champions League in the semi-final stage in the recently-concluded season.
The Argentine is currently under contract at PSG for one more year, but his falling-out with the club's sporting director Leonardo could see him leave after a short tenure.