Zinedine Zidane was not the first option to replace Rafael Benitez at Real Madrid. Florentino Perez offered the job to Antonio Conte first, according to Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport. 23/02/2016 CET Upd. at 19:07 Conte hinted he was ready to take over after Euro 2016, but Madrid needed someone to take over from Benitez immediately. Jose Mourinho’s return was also contemplated seriously by Perez, but he was not interested in returning either given the friction with some of the players from his previous spell in charge at the Santiago Bernabeu. Only when Perez realised it was impossible to sign Conte did he turn his attention to Zidane, despite the fact the French coach has no top level managerial experience. Fernando Baquero The former Juventus coach earned a lot of prestige during his spell in charge of the Turin-based club. He led them to three league titles, the first without losing a single game. However, the Italian coach, who was flattered by the interest from Madrid, rejected the offer because his intention is to remain in charge of Italy at this summer’s European Championships in France. After recent results, ‘Zizou’ has lost some of the credit he earned early on and Madrid may once again turn to Conte in the summer.