Zinedine Zidane will reject the opportunity to return to club management in order to take over from Didier Deschamps as coach of the France national team, sources have told ESPN.
As reported in L’Equipe on Friday, sources have said the former Real Madrid manager is ready to wait for Deschamps’ tenure to end, whether after the 2022 World Cup or 2024 European Championship.
Sources have told ESPN that Zidane is next in line to be France’s head coach. It is his priority and ambition, while he is also the outstanding candidate once the vacancy is open.
French FA president Noel Le Graet is also keen to appoint the former France international and would have brought him in this summer if Deschamps decided to step down from the role.
Instead, Le Graet confirmed Deschamps will remain in the position after a conversation surrounding his future only lasted “three minutes.”
Deschamps was under mounting pressure in the wake of France’s disappointing loss to Switzerland in the round of 16 at Euro 2020, however sources told ESPN that the national team coach retained Le Graet’s support and was due to see out his contract.
Deschamps has a contract until December 2022 and could see his deal extended until the summer of 2024 if he wants to stay and the results were positive.
He has been in charge of Les Bleus since 2012 and led the national team to World Cup success in 2018 in Russia.
Zidane, who has closely followed France’s campaign at the Euros, including the return of protege Karim Benzema, is hoping that the job is available in 17 months. However, he could also have to wait more than three years for it if Deschamps gets a new deal.
Zidane, who has spent the last six weeks with his family on holidays between France and Spain, has already rejected offers from clubs.
Sources have told ESPN he was in the conversation for the Juventus job after the sacking of Andrea Pirlo before Max Allegri came back to the club.
The former France No. 10 has also attracted interest from England but remains focused on waiting for the France job.