Zinedine Zidane - who is now the symbol of Real Madrid; the man the club want to push them towards the Champions League this season with attacking football - was very close to leaving the Santiago Bernabeu earlier this season, according to 'Extraconfidencial', because of his poor style of fooball and for his lack of alignment with the club.
The point of inflection was on August 5 of last year, during pre-season. Real Madrid had sacked Carlo Ancelotti and had taken a bet on a manager with a very different profile: Rafa Benitez. His aim was to relaunch Real Madrid through discipline, hard work and with a tough style.
At that moment, Florentino Perez was disappointed with Zidane's work with Real Madrid Castilla. "Jose Angel [Sanchez], I want you to sack Zidane right now for his rudimentary football." An interesting comment and one which contrasts with the fact that Zidane is now the new manager of the first team.
But the strongest part of this information is Perez's main compaint that he wanted him gone for his "bad relationship with the high-ranking members at the club."
What is it that saved Zidane? Something quite human, but not so professional. "Look, president, I don't dare sack Zidane," was Sanchez's reponse to Perez. The director was able to convince the president that Zizou is an asset to Madrid and that to fire him would have done damage to the image of the club and to Perez.
Finally, the decision to save Zidane was a strategic one by Perez, who just a few months later would sack Benitez and back the Frenchman for the first team, despite his inexperience (just 18 months with the reserves).