Another managerial grave is being dug at the Santiago Bernabeu.
On Monday, after an emergency meeting was reportedly held to determine his future and to the surprise of absolutely nobody, Rafa Benitez was sacked as manager of Real Madrid.
Replacing Benitez will be none other than Zinedine Zidane, who was promoted from manager of Real Madrid Castilla, the club's B team, and is one of Los Blancos' most legendary players. He tallied 49 goals through 227 appearances while donning the white shirt, capturing a Champions League title and a Copa del Rey crown in the process.
Although Benitez's sacking comes one day after Real Madrid was held to a 2-2 draw at Valencia, the club's problems extend well beyond recent results as well as beyond the Spanish tactician. Since the 2015-16 La Liga season kicked off, Los Blancos failed to sign David De Gea in humiliating fashion, were thrashed in El Clasico, and were kicked out of the Copa del Rey for fielding an ineligible player. There were also reports of a rift between Benitez and players, including Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale.
Despite the struggles, however, Zidane will be inheriting a club Benitez left sitting third in La Liga and in the Champions League's knockout phase.
"I'm more emotional now than when I signed as a player," Zidane said, joined by his wife and four kids.
Real Madrid's next fixture goes Sunday at Granada.
Death, taxes and Real Madrid firing managers.
The Spanish juggernaut, sputtering (by its lofty standards) in La Liga this season, confirmed what has seemed inevitable since the day Rafa Benitez was hired only seven months ago, announcing Monday that the under-fire boss has been sacked, replaced on the touchline by club icon Zinedine Zidane.
The Madrid native, 55, was given his marching orders despite the club finding itself a mere four points off the top of the La Liga table, where city rival Atletico Madrid sits at the summit. Though Los Blancos are well within striking distance for the Spanish title, there was consistent outrage from supporters over the team's uninspiring, defensive style of play under Benitez, along with a series of unfortunate, high-profile gaffes that blighted his tenure; the Copa del Rey debacle, a reported rift with marquee players, and a 4-0 battering at the hands of Barcelona in this season's edition of El Clasico.
And while the timing seems odd - the club is one day removed from earning a 2-2 draw away to Valencia, despite playing with ten men - trigger-happy president Florentino Perez decided the time was right for the seemingly inevitable announcement.
Here's everything you need to know about Real Madrid's decision to cut ties with Benitez, and replace him with Zidane.
- VIDEO: Zidane's replacement of Benitez gets the Photoshop treatment
- Twitter reacts to Rafa Benitez's sacking by Real Madrid
- Beckham praises hiring of Zidane: 'The best person for the job'
COACHING CAROUSEL AT THE BERNABEU
- Short stories: 5 fleeting tenures at the helm of Real Madrid
- Real Madrid is a Galactico-sized train wreck under Florentino Perez
LOOKING BACK AT BENITEZ'S ILL-FATED TENURE
- Writing on the wall: 5 factors that led to Benitez's firing at Real Madrid
- Real Madrid boss Benitez insists there is no rift with Cristiano Ronaldo
- Perez calls press conference to deny rumours of Benitez's dismissal
- Report: Rafa Benitez's dismissal 'not a matter of if, but when'
- Zinedine Zidane denies links with Real Madrid 1st-team manager role
- Real Madrid boss Benitez reflects on dismal, one-sided Clasico defeat
- Benitez given dreaded vote of confidence: 'He has all our support'
ZIDANE TAKES OVER
- Zidane: Becoming Madrid manager more exciting than the day I signed
- Surviving Madrid: Zidane risks predictable ending at unforgiving club
- Calderon: Perez tried to sign Mourinho, didn't want Zidane as manager
- PHOTOS: Zinedine Zidane oversees 1st Real Madrid training session
- Spanish media doubts Zinedine Zidane future at Real Madrid
- Zidane targets trophies, attacking football as hard work starts