Real promotion for Zidane

With the backing of Jose Mourinho, Zinedine Zidane has taken on the role of sporting director at Real Madrid.

    Madrid manager Mourinho was eager to get Zidane more involved with the first team [AFP]

    Zinedine Zidane will start working as Real Madrid's sporting director from next week, the French sporting legend said on Thursday.

    The 39-year-old, who was voted World Player of the Year on three occasions, has been working at the Spanish club as president Florentino Perez's special adviser.
    "We are going to start working in the role as director of football to the first team," Zidane told reporters.

    "(Real manager) Mourinho has been fundamental in this and so has the president as well."

    When asked what the role would involve, he replied: "We shall see. Everyone has been asking me the same question, but I will be there from next Monday, until the end of the season."

    Zidane could be taking on some of the responsibilities that used to be handled by Jorge Valdano until the Argentine was sacked as director general at the end of last season.

    The relationship between Valdano and Mourinho, who was appointed coach in 2010, steadily deteriorated last term.

    Perez's decision to ditch his right-hand man Valdano and back Mourinho in May was a victory for the Portuguese as he sought to gain more influence over sporting matters at the nine-time European champions.

    Mourinho had petitioned for Zidane to work more closely with the first team last season and it was the former Real playmaker who helped convince the club to buy French defender Raphael Varane from Lens last week.

    Extension for Pellegrini

    Former Real Madrid coach Manuel Pellegrini has agreed a two-year contract extension with Malaga which ties him until 2015, the Qatari-owned La Liga club said on Thursday.

    "The Andalucian club strengthens its project for the future showing complete confidence in the work of Pellegrini, (and assistants) Ruben Cousillas and Jose Cabello," Malaga said in a statement.

    The 57-year-old former Villarreal coach was appointed to replace Jesualdo Ferreira in November and led the side to 11th in the standings.

             Manuel Pellegrini eyes up European competition after a busy transfer period [EPA] 

    Malaga were bought by a member of the Qatari royal family at the end of the 2009-10 campaign and have been the busiest Spanish top-flight club in the transfer market since the end of the campaign.

    They have landed eight new players, including Dutch striker Ruud van Nistelrooy, and have their eyes set on challenging for a European qualifying berth next season.

    However, it is unlikely Spanish club Racing Santander will be making any big money signings after applying to the courts to go into voluntary administration with debts of more than $48 million.

    "Today isn't a good day for the club and it will be very hard now to have to tell the players and the suppliers who we owe money to," club president Francisco Pernia told a news conference on Thursday.

    "(We are) thinking of the club and in avoiding bigger problems such as relegation to Segunda B. It's a problem of cash flow and of access to credit."

    Racing explained in a statement released earlier that they had been forced into the move due to the complex institutional situation that had been provoked by the sale of the club to Ahsan Ali Syed.

    Racing are one of a number of top-flight Spanish clubs with serious financial problems. They join fellow La Liga sides Real Mallorca and Real Zaragoza, and the three newly-promoted teams Real Betis, Rayo Vallecano and Granada in administration.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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