Rafael Benitez’s reign at Real Madrid came to a shocking end after he was sacked on Monday less than five months since he took charge.
French and the Madrid’s club’s legend Zinedine Zidane has taken over on interim basis.
Benitez succeeded Italian Carlo Ancelotti in the summer, but his appointment was not popular with either fans or the club’s star players, who had voiced the desire for his sacked predecessor to be reinstated.
A spell of three leagues defeats in five league outings in November and December, including a 4-0 mauling at home to their fierce rivals Barcelona, wiped away the short credit Benitez had gained following an unbeaten 14-game run at the onset of his reign.
Only three weeks ago Benitez oversaw the biggest margin victory in a La Liga match for half century, after he guided Real Madrid to a 10-2 pummeling of Rayo Vallecano to become the highest scoring team in the Spanish top tier.
However, the 2-2 draw at Valencia on Sunday that left Madrid four points beneath log leaders Atletico Madrid, two behind rivals Barcelona who have a game to play, saw the club’s hierarchy part company with the former Liverpool and Chelsea boss.
‘’We have taken the difficult decision to rescind the contract of Rafael Benitez as coach,’’ said Real Madrid president Florentino Perez.
Perez in a statement confirmed that the club’s legend and reserve team coach Zinedine Zidane will take charge as interim boss until the summer.
Zidane, 43, scored a winning goal to hand Madrid the 2002 Champions League as a player, and he was also part of Carlo Ancelotti’s coaching staff when they won the champions League and Copa del Rey in 2014.