Real Madrid will sack Santiago Solari and reappoint former coach Zinedine Zidane today, according to multiple Spanish media reports. Real crashed out of the UEFA Champions League to Ajax at the last 16 stage and sit in third place in La Liga after being knocked out of the Spanish Cup by Barcelona last week.
Five days after a third victory in last season's Champions League final over Liverpool, the French coach and former Real Madrid midfielder chose to walk away, saying it was the right moment to depart.
It's a stunning turnaround for the Spanish club who have struggled since the departure of Zidane.
It is widely expected that one day Zidane will manage France himself, while a return to Juventus, not Madrid, was considered his most likely next move in club football. Madrid trails leader Barcelona by 12 points with 11 matches left.
Solari's side thrashed Real Valladolid 4-1 on Sunday in his final stand as coach. The club said it offered him an opportunity to remain with the club in a different position.
Only a little more than a month after getting his contract, Solari wins his first trophy as Real win the Fifa Club World Cup in the UAE.
Zidane revealed that Perez was an important reason as to why he returned to the club, despite resigning less than a year ago.
"The Board of Directors of Real Madrid, meeting today, Monday, March 11, 2019, has made a decision to terminate the contract that linked Santiago Solari with the club as coach of the first team".
The Frenchman's last game in charge of Real Madrid, in the Champions League Final against Liverpool, coincided with Cristiano Ronaldo's last appearance in Madrid white. He takes over a team with nearly nothing to play for in La Liga, 12 points adrift of leaders Barcelona and 10 ahead of Alaves in fifth.
Solari took over from Lopetegui as an interim coach and eventually was given a full-time job with a contract until 2021 after putting the team back on track. Other names mentioned included Juergen Klopp, Mauricio Pochettino, Joachim Loew and Antonio Conte, who was highly touted to take over from the fired Lopetegui.
Things are set to change though, at least from the perspective of an expectant fan base who have been deprived of the type of success they've become accustomed-to in recent seasons.