Real sack coach Benitez and appoint Zidane

Mon Jan 4, 2016 3:51pm EST
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By Iain Rogers

(Reuters) - Real Madrid have sacked coach Rafa Benitez after less than half a season in charge and promoted their former France great Zinedine Zidane from the B team to replace him, president Florentino Perez said on Monday.

Perez announced the dismissal of the experienced Benitez, who had a contract until June 2018, following a board meeting and Zidane was present at the president's news conference at the Bernabeu stadium.

"Firstly I would like to thank the club and the president for giving me the chance to coach this team," Zidane, known as "Zizou" and a hero to Real's fans, told reporters.

"What we need to do now, and what I will try to do, is try to do my best so that this team is a winner at the end of the season," added the 43-year-old, one of the club's youngest-ever coaches.

"The important thing is to be with the team tomorrow and start work," he said.

"I will put all the heart I have into the job for this club and try to make sure things work out well."

ELEVENTH COACH   Continued...

Real Madrid's new coach Zinedine Zidane (L) and Real Madrid's President Florentino Perez pose for the media at Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Spain, January 4, 2016.  REUTERS/Juan Medina