Rafael Benitez has left Real Madrid after just seven months in charge, with Zinedine Zidane immediately unveiled as the new head coach.
Benitez replaced Carlo Ancelotti in June, signing a three-year contact with his home-town club, but he has lasted only 25 competitive games in charge of the Spanish giants.
The 55-year-old found himself under increasing pressure due to some indifferent performances and damaging defeats, most notably the 4-0 home loss to Barcelona in November – and on Monday evening Madrid confirmed they had parted company with the Spaniard.
Benitez’s final game in charge was Sunday’s 2-2 draw at Valencia, a result which left Madrid in third spot in the Primera Division table, four points adrift of leaders Atletico Madrid.
The 10-time European champions are now looking for a 14th coach in the last 13 years, with former player Zidane – who was in charge of the club’s B side Castilla – taking over the reins.
In total, former Liverpool, Chelsea and Napoli boss Benitez won 16 of his 25 games in charge, drawing five and losing four.
Three of those defeats came against Barca, Sevilla and Villarreal in La Liga, while the other was when Copa del Rey opponents Cadiz were awarded a walkover victory due to Madrid – who actually won the game itself 3-1 – fielding an ineligible player.
In the last month Madrid looked to have eased some of the heat on Benitez with an 8-0 Champions League victory over Malmo and a 10-2 Primera Division mauling of Rayo Vallecano – but the club have now decided enough is enough.
Madrid, who are through to the last 16 of the Champions League where they will face Roma, are next in action against Deportivo La Coruna at the Bernabeu on Saturday.