Rafael Benitez has been sacked as manager of Real Madrid .

The former Liverpool and Chelsea boss has endured a tough season at the Bernabeu since taking over in June, and while he only finds his side four points off Atletico at the top of La Liga he has had fallouts with key players and been criticised for a defensive style of football.

Benitez was also denied the chance for another piece of silverware, the Copa del Rey, after an administrative gaffe saw them expelled for fielding an ineligible player against Cadiz.

It leaves the Champions League as their most likely chance of glory this season, but club president Florentino Perez has opted for a change ahead of their round-of-16 tie with Roma next month.

An announcement is expected later on today.

Zinedine Zidane – the coach of Real Madrid’s second team, Castilla – is expected to take over.

The Frenchman is understood to privately prefer a summer change and the chance to undertake an entire pre-season but won’t turn down the chance to manage the ten-time European champions if, as expected, Perez offers him the job.

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