Real Madrid could be looking at a huge €80m cost should they wish to sack coach Zinedine Zidane just six months into his three-and-a-half-year contract at the Bernabeu.
Zidane, who famously won three consecutive Champions League titles during his first spell in charge before walking away in 2018, was persuaded to return to the club in March and oversee a rebuilding project to create the next great Real team.
Despite a number of summer signings, that rebuild hasn’t exactly been delivered and Real were thrashed 3-0 by Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League on Wednesday night. Los Blancos have also only won two of their opening four La Liga fixtures so far.
The PSG defeat in particular has brought intense scrutiny on Zidane. Yet sacking the Frenchman would not only damage his club legacy, it could also be a very costly exercise.
That is because SPORT alleges that under the terms of his contract, Zidane is paid a net salary of around €13m per year. It means for this season and the next two that he is contracted for until 2022, he would be owed a total of €39m after tax.
Should Real tear up that contract, the salary Zidane would have earned becomes his compensation settlement. And with the €39m being a net figure, SPORT notes that Real themselves would be looking at a number around €80m to account for the tax that must be paid.
The only let off would be if Zidane himself renounced his claim to his full wage.
This is now the biggest test of Zidane’s relatively short coaching career. His man management saw his Real team achieve incredible things between 2016 and 2018, but he inherited that group of players and has never before been tasked with building a new team.
Rather unsurprisingly, former Real boss Jose Mourinho has already emerged as an early contender for the job should it become vacant. The Portuguese was in Madrid for three years from 2010 to 2013 and has been out of work since being sacked by Manchester United.