A team-mate of Zinédine Zidane during his playing days at Real Madrid, Santiago Solari took over at Castilla, the club’s reserve team, when Zidane was appointed first-team boss in 2016, and will be hoping to replicate the success the Frenchman enjoyed at the helm.
UEFA Champions League appearances
Real Madrid: 46 (2000–05)
Internazionale: 15 (2005–08)
UEFA Champions League goals
Real Madrid: 7
Best performance: winner (Real Madrid, 2002)
If you don’t remember him …
An Argentinian international, Solari’s father Eduardo and uncle Jorge were both professionals as were his brothers, while his cousin is married to former international team-mate Fernando Redondo.
Predominantly a left-sided midfielder with impressive dribbling ability and an eye for goal, Solari made waves at River Plate before heading to Europe with Atlético Madrid in 1999. Solari crossed the city following relegation a year later and would prove a reliable member of the Merengues’ squad for the next five seasons, winning all 11 of his international caps during his spell in Spain.
Solari’s crowning moment came as part of Real Madrid’s victorious 2002 UEFA Champions League side and he was involved in the move for Zidane’s famous winner in the final against Leverkusen. He scooped a second Liga title the following season and racked up 209 appearances by the time he left for Inter in 2005.
What happened next
Success followed in Italy. Solari won Serie A in each of his three seasons at Inter, and one Coppa Italia, before finishing his career with spells at San Lorenzo, Mexico’s Atlante and Uruguayan side Peñarol.
After a media career, he rejoined the Merengues as Under-16 coach in 2013, and coached Real Madrid in the 2015/16 UEFA Youth League before taking over from Zidane at Castilla ahead of the 2016/17 season.
His best UEFA Champions League moments
• Solari was never prolific but he often saved his best for the #UCL, scoring seven of his 22 goals for Madrid in the competition.
• His dinked finish against Lazio at the Stadio Olimpico in the 2001/02 season, en route to winning the trophy, is a goal that has lived long in the memory of the Santiago Bernabéu faithful.
• He started the 2002 final against Bayer Leverkusen; his clipped ball down the line allowed the galloping Roberto Carlos to centre for Zidane’s wonder-goal.
What he said in his first press conference
“These players are a group of champions and warriors who have won so much for the club. It’s not the easiest situation, but I can see they’re determined to turn things around.”
“I’m pleased to be here and am up for the challenge. To work at Madrid is a great opportunity – a brilliant job in any part of the club, not just as first team coach.”
“I gave my all for this shirt as a player, just like others who aren’t here. Madrid incorporates us into its greatness – it is bigger than all of us, but includes us just the same.”