Real Madrid are reportedly set to appoint Jose Mourinho as their new manager for next season, with the Portuguese described as nearly certain to return to the Bernabeu.
Mourinho has been out of work as a manager since his time as Manchester United boss came to a sudden and acrimonious end in December. With Real badly struggling, speculation has been rife that a return to Madrid, whom he left in 2013, is on the cards.
Now, according to a claim from the Daily Telegraph, that proposed return is 'almost 100 per cent' to happen, with incumbent coach Santiago Solari seemingly unlikely to last beyond the end of the season after Real's hopes in the Copa del Rey, La Liga and Champions League have all gone up in smoke in rapid succession over the course of the last eight days.
Real fans chanted Mourinho's name after being humiliated by Ajax this week and the 55-year-old told Spanish football show El Chiringuito that he was 'proud' to hear it.
The Telegraph report alleges that while there have been no direct discussions between Mourinho and Real, talks have taken place through representatives.
Real president Florentino Perez is said to still hold a good relationship with Mourinho, while the noises from his camp about a return have apparently been 'positive'.
There would be no change mid-season, however, with Solari set to remain in charge for the remainder of the campaign, and any new boss to begin rebuilding in the summer.
But the speculation regarding the next Real manager doesn't just centre on Mourinho. There have also been murmurings that the club is keen to bring Zinedine Zidane back.
The Frenchman won three Champions League titles in just two-and-a-half years in charge between 2016 and 2018, choosing to walk away on a high at the end of last season.
According to Marca, Perez the decision to contact Zidane was made after the Ajax game. The Bernabeu chief apparently believes Zidane would be 'open' to returning, while Marca quotes an 'authoritative voice', stating, "The circumstances for a possible return have changed, don't dismiss it."
Former president Ramon Calderon told BBC Radio 5 Live on Wednesday that he knew Perez had called Zidane that morning and the door wasn't closed.
"I know that this morning the president called Zidane to ask him back, he said not now. He has left open the possibility of coming back in June," Calderon revealed.