Zinedine Zidane responds to the call to save Real Madrid from darkness | Sid Lowe

With infighting rife, the man who brought Madrid such riches in Europe is on the verge of a remarkable return to the Bernabéu

Darkness descended on Real Madrid, the metaphor visiting them on a Sunday night in Valladolid, light not let in until the following evening when he returned. The week after they lost it all, the man returned who won it all. Zinedine Zidane is back. Less than a year since he walked out, insisting that this was a “see you later” not a “goodbye”, he is set to walk in again. Just how different the place is, just how bad it had got in his absence, was shown by seven days in which it all slipped through their fingers. Shown too, by the last game before he relented and said yes, Santi Solari’s final game in charge: a match that mattered so much partly because it didn’t matter at all.

There was less than an hour to go before kick-off at the José Zorrilla on Sunday night when the lights went out on Madrid again. They sought a first win since beating Levante 13 days earlier, back when they had a season, but they couldn’t see amid the gloom. The electricity had been cut. It was dark in the dressing room, dark in the directors’ box, and dark on the pitch. From the stands, fans tried to illuminate the warm up with their phones. Slowly, the floodlights flickered into life as down in the referees’ room the possibility of postponement was raised. Which is one way of escaping reality and putting off the inevitable.

Zidane’s arrival responds to the need to seek peace, stability, optimism for the future; enough damage has been done

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Athletic Bilbao 1-1 Espanyol, Getafe 2-1 Huesca, Barcelona 3-1 Rayo Vallecano, Atlético Madrid 1-0 Leganés, Alavés 1-1 Eibar, Real Valladolid 1-4 Real Madrid, Sevilla 5-2 Real Sociedad, Levante 0-2 Villarreal, Girona 2-3 Valencia, Celta Vigo 0-1 Real Betis

Source: The Guardian – La Liga