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Summary

  1. Rafael Benitez sacked as Real Madrid manager
  2. Zinedine Zidane new head coach
  3. Get involved: Your reaction to Benitez sacking - #bbcsportsday
  4. Leicester sign Birmingham winger Demarai Gray

Live Reporting

By Matt Davis

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Good night

And that is your lot from this special edition of Sportsday.

Rafael Benitez is gone and Zinedine Zidane is the man Real Madrid have turned to.

His first match will be against Deportivo La Coruna at the Bernabeu on Saturday.

Adios and buenas noches.

BBC Radio 5 Live

The European Football Show will have more reaction on today's turn of events at the Bernabeu.

You can listen live on Radio 5 live from 21:00 GMT.

Zidane replaces Benitez at Real Madrid

Football

Chris Sutton

Former Chelsea & Norwich striker on Radio 5 live

"What is going to change under Zidane? However good they are going forward, they have a problem going back. It is OK having an attack-minded manager. How are you going to make Ronaldo go back or Benzema do the dirty side of the game?"  

Get involved - #bbcsportsday

Real Madrid sack Rafael Benitez

Samuel Pattison: Guardiola, Mourinho and now Benitez all looking for new jobs… exciting times!   

Dean Bunnell: Football isn't always about results. There were clearly some internal problems with Benitez and the board didn't like it.

Sammitwum: I pity Zinedine Zidane because it'll take just three losses and five draws for him to be sacked as well.

What about Mourinho?

Football

Saj Chowdhury

BBC Sport

Real overlooked one of their notable former managers in turning to Zidane.

Jose Mourinho guided the club to the league title in 2012 and - following his sacking by Chelsea last month - is available.

He has unfinished business at the Bernabeu having failed to win the Champions League - a prize coveted perhaps more than any other by Los Blancos.

Mourinho
Getty Images

But there were reports his relationship with forward Cristiano Ronaldo broke down during his last spell in charge, while he also had high-profile clashes with fan favourites Sergio Ramos and Iker Casillas.

And following Mourinho's departure from Chelsea, Perez said there would be no imminent return to the Bernabeu for 'the special one'. 

What next for Benitez?

Football

Rafael Benitez may be loved in Liverpool and Valencia, but his reputation as a manager has diminished in his past two jobs - at Napoli and Real.

The Spaniard replaced Walter Mazzarri as Napoli boss in May 2013, and won the Coppa Italia in his first season in charge, but things soured in his second and final season.

Napoli failed to make the Champions League despite the big-money signings of Gonzalo Higuain, Jose Maria Callejon, Raul Albiol and Dries Mertens, with Benitez criticised for his rotation policy and stubborn adherence to a 4-2-3-1 formation.

Rafa Benitez
Getty Images

Real lost just three of their 25 competitive matches under Benitez, but the club's supporters quickly tired of what they regarded as a sterile and unexciting style of play.

West Ham co-chairman David Sullivan said last month that Benitez was"two hours away" from being appointed Hammers boss before he took the Real job.

His trophy-laden CV map tempt other Premier League clubs to turn to a man whose family home is still on Merseyside.

Zidane replaces Benitez at Real Madrid

Football

BBC Radio 5 Live

We have seen Barcelona appoint Pep Guardiola and done the same with Luis Enrique. Is that not Real giving them the biggest tip of the hat and copying their philosophy? It is an arm’s race. A manager who doesn’t win the European Cup is going to be looking over their shoulder. How long can these great clubs keep interchanging parts. The Galactico manager. Zidane does fit that bill.

Joey BartonBurnley midfielder

Get involved - #bbcsportsday

Real Madrid sack Rafael Benitez

AJ Vergette: Absolute madness! Rafa was doing fine! Team turned against him, Perez proved egos are bigger than the club.

Christian Evans: Appointing Zidane as manager is just as much of a gamble as Valencia with Neville; no managerial experience at this level.

Jonathan Frayman: For amount Real Madrid have spent they have achieved so little. President must take some blame. Benitez deserved more time.

Jane Johnson: Zidane is a legend and will have the respect of the Real Madrid players, with whom the real power lies. Grooming him for ages.

Zidane replaces Benitez at Real Madrid

Football

France and Newcastle midfielder Remy Cabella..

Remy Cabella
Remy Cabella

Zidane replaces Benitez at Real Madrid

Football

New York Times sports columnist Christopher Clarey is not convinced that Zinedine Zidane is set for a long reign at Real Madrid...

One of the least reassuring spots for a new coach: next to Florentino Perez

One of the least reassuring spots for a new coach: next to Florentino Perez

Zidane replaces Benitez at Real Madrid

Football

The official statement from Real Madrid does not give any reasons as to why Rafael Benitez was sacked, but says it was a "difficult decision".

You can read the full statement (in Spanish) here.

Get involved - #bbcsportsday

Real Madrid sack Rafael Benitez

Malcolm Jarrett: Benitez too defensive for Real Madrid. Liverpool were boring when he was there. Just got lucky winning the European Cup.

Jon Potter: Players definitely take some blame, behaviour of some appalling - not Rafa's fault Ancelotti was sacked. Chief culprit Perez.

Nicholas Taylor: Lose three games out of 25, four points off top, still in Champions League. Seems very harsh to sack Benitez.

Daniel Jones: Bring Rafa to the Cleveland Browns, we have a track record of mediocre managers!  

Zidane replaces Benitez at Real Madrid

Football

BBC Radio 5 Live

I wish Zidane all the best but it will be difficult. If he is not successful then Jose Mourinho will be on the bench in June, I am sure. It is a great opportunity for Zidane. He lacks experience as a coach. That is a problem.

Ramon CalderonFormer Real president

Zidane replaces Benitez at Real Madrid

Football

BBC Radio 5 Live

Florentino Perez is an engineer, he is not a professional. If you and I were asked to build a bridge the logical conclusion is that it will fall down. He decided to sack Carlo Ancelotti when everyone loved him. They change Rafael Benitez but no-one is advising who is the right man to be there. Perez didn’t say anything about the change. Why? That is the real story about this club. I think the players like Zidane. He won everything with Real Madrid. I am sure the fans will receive him in a very good way. What happens in the next weeks, nobody knows.

Ramon CalderonFormer Real president

Zidane replaces Benitez at Real Madrid

Football

Zinedine Zidane has been coach of Real's B team - who are second in the Spanish third tier - since 2014. Prior to that he was an integral member of the backroom staff under then Real boss Carlo Ancelotti, who led the side to 'La Decima' - the club's 10th European Cup - in 2013-14.

During his playing career, the Frenchman was one of Real's key 'Galacticos' - a label given to the expensive players signed by club president Florentino Perez in the early to mid-2000s.

Real paid Juventus a then-world record fee of £45.8m in 2001 for the midfielder, who had already won the World Cup and European Championship.

Zidane
AFP

At the Bernabeu he played alongside players such as Luis Figo, Raul and Ronaldo, and also featured in the same midfield as England captain David Beckham.

He helped the side win the Spanish league title in 2003 and won the Fifa World Player of the Year award for the third time that year.

But perhaps his defining moment came in the 2002 Champions League final, when he scored a stunning volley against Bayer Leverkusen at Hampden Park.

Get Involved - #bbcsportsday

Real Madrid sack Rafael Benitez

Steve Howes: Players never get the blame at RM. That's why they go through so many coaches.

Alex Powell: Perez is the problem, sacking Carlo Ancelotti was madness!

Mick Hogben: Champions League qualification. Check. Well in the mix for the title. Check. Sacked. Check. Football really is bonkers.

Zidane replaces Benitez at Real Madrid

Football

Zinedine Zidane
Getty Images

Zinedine Zidane briefly spoke at the news conference.

The French great spent five years as a player at the Bernabeu, winning the Champions League in 2002.

"I thank the club and the president for giving me the opportunity to train the club. It’s the best club in the world and the best fanbase.

"I want to do my very best to ensure the club has a trophy at the end of the season. Tomorrow is when the work starts.

"It’s an emotional day, even more emotional than the day I signed for the club."

Listen live

BBC Radio 5 Live

You can hear reaction to the Real Madrid news conference on Radio 5 live now, with Burnley midfielder Joey Barton.

Zidane replaces Benitez at Real Madrid

Football

First at the news conference we heard from Real Madrid president Florentino Perez, who confirmed the sacking of Rafael Benitez.

"The board has taken a difficult decision - especially for me, to sack Rafael Benítez - a great professional and a magnificent person."

He then confirmed Zinedine Zidane would be taking over.

"I'm very proud because I know that for Zidane, the word 'impossible' doesn't exist."

Zidane replace Benitez at Real Madrid

Football

This was the scene at the Bernabeu a short time ago as Zinedine Zidane was appointed head coach to replace Rafa Benitez...

Zidane posa junto a su familia y Florentino en su presentación como míster del Real Madrid ▶ ow.ly/WC9ea

Zidane posa junto a su familia y Florentino en su presentación como míster del Real Madrid ▶ ow.ly/WC9ea

Real Madrid sack Benitez

Football

Rafael Benitez leaves Real Madrid in third place in La Liga, four points off city rivals Atletico at the top and two behind Barcelona, who have a game in hand.

In his last match, a 2-2 draw at Valencia, Benitez appeared to anger goalscorer Karim Benzema when substituting him.

Real won 11 of their 18 league games under Benitez, losing three. 

Rafa Benitez
Getty Images

Get involved - Benitez sacked, Zidane appointed

#bbcsportsday

Well what do you make of that news?

Have Real Madrid made the right decision in getting rid of Rafael Benitez? Will Zinedine Zidane be a success at the Bernabeu? Should the players or the president take some of the blame?

Get involved and let us know your thoughts via Twitter #bbcsportsday

Real appoint Zidane as head coach

Football

zidane
AFP

Dressed in a blue suit with a white shirt, former France forward Zinedine Zidane has made a short speech as Real Madrid's new head coach.

He then poses with his family for some pictures.

BreakingReal Madrid sack Benitez

Football

Real Madrid have sacked Rafael Benitez and appointed Zinedine Zidane as the new head coach.

Real Madrid news conference

Football

We're still awaiting, but we have some movement...

Looks like it is about to start...

Real Madrid news conference

Football

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez is keeping us waiting.

He is now 25 minutes late for his press conference, which was due to start at 18:30 GMT.

Just to recap it has been reported that Real are going to announce the sacking of manager Rafael Benitez.

Real are currently third in La Liga, four points behind leaders Atletico Madrid and into the last 16 of the Champions League.

Real Madrid news conference

Football

If Rafael Benítez does get the sack, he will be the 11th coach to have been dismissed by president Florentino Perez.

Perez is currently in his second term at the Bernabeu, the first from 2000-06 and the second began in 2009.

Real Madrid news conference

Football

We are still waiting for Florentino Perez to make his appearance at the Bernabeu.

We're hearing from a few journalists that the Real Madrid president will not be taking any questions.

Real Madrid news conference

Football

Spanish football journalist Sid Lowe is at the Bernabeu for Real Madrid's press conference which is about to start any minute now...

Double sacking

American Football

g
Getty Images

Two NFL franchises have fired their coaches on a day in the calendar known as 'Black Monday' as a result of its history of witnessing sackings.

The San Francisco 49ers dismissed Jim Tomsula, 47, after only a year in charge as they slumped to a 5-11 record to finish bottom of the NFC West.

The Cleveland Browns split with coach Mike Pettine and manager Ray Farmer.

Pettine, 49, coached the Browns for under a year but their 3-13 record saw them finish bottom of the AFC North.

Ottesen optimistic over Chepstow prospects

Horse Racing

Chepstow clerk of the course Keith Ottesen is "more than hopeful" the Coral Welsh Grand National meeting will go ahead at the second attempt on Saturday.

The fixture had to be abandoned due to waterlogging when originally due to take place on 27 December, but was rescheduled. 

The official going at the Monmouthshire circuit remains heavy, but forecasts for the coming days are giving Ottesen reason to be optimistic.

Fifa's Valcke set to learn fate

Football

Fifa's suspended general secretary Jerome Valcke will learn his fate on Tuesday when the world football governing body's internal court meets to discuss his case. 

Valcke was suspended for 90 days from all football-related activity on 8 October over corruption allegations. 

His ban is due to end on Tuesday but Fifa's court could decide to extend his suspension by another 45 days.

Valcke denies any wrongdoing. 

Jerome Valcke
Getty Images

Premier League clubs keen on Niasse

Football

The Guardian reports that Lokomotiv Moscow striker Oumar Niasse is set for a £15m January move to the Premier League.

Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur have looked at the 25-year-old.

Everton, Newcastle United and Aston Villa are also keen on the Senegal international, who has been voted the Russian Premier League’s player of 2015.

Oumar Niasse
Getty Images

Haskell keeps his sting

Rugby Union

JH
Getty Images

James Haskell has extended his contract with Wasps.

Haskell, this season's co-captain alongside Matt Mullan, has agreed to extend his second spell at the Coventry-based club after his current deal was due to expire in the summer.

Since his debut in 2002, the 30-year-old England back row has made 160 appearances for Wasps and has amassed 62 caps including appearances at two World Cups.

McNulty to stay at Pompey

Football

Sheffield United say striker Marc McNulty will remain with League Two side Portsmouth until the end of the season.

The 23-year-old initially joined Pompey on loan in November and the paperwork has now been completed for him to stay at Fratton Park until the summer.

The Scot has scored six times in 11 appearances.

Real Madrid to hold news conference

Football

Rafa Benitez
EPA

In case you are wondering about the future of Real Madrid coach Rafa Benitez, who looks to be on his way out of the Bernabeu, the club have called a news conference for 18:30 GMT.

There have been reports in Spain this afternoon that the former Liverpool and Chelsea manager has been sacked.

Johnson claims landmark win

Horse Racing

Richard Johnson has reached his 3,000th career success after St Saviour claimed victory at Ludlow on Monday.

The 38-year-old now needs just four more wins to reach 3,000 over jumps (he has four Flat wins) with Sir Tony McCoy the only other rider to achieve that feat.

Johnson is virtually assured of his first jockeys' title in April after finishing second to McCoy on 16 occasions.

Richard Johnson
Getty Images

Derby sign Angers striker Camara

Football

Derby County have signed Guinea international Abdoul Camara from French Ligue 1 side Angers for a fee believed to be £1.25m.

The 25-year-old can play on the left wing or up front and has agreed a three-and-a-half-year contract. 

Camara told told BBC Radio Derby: "I am happy to be here. Playing in England is my dream. I am ready to be here.

Abdoul Camara
Getty Images

GB Para-swimming team named for Europeans

Swimming

Five Para-swimmers will make their senior Great Britain debuts in the  IPC Swimming Open European Championship which takes place from 30 April-8 May in Funchal, Madeira. 

Lewis White, Michael Jones, Rebecca Redfern, Ellie Robinson and Zara Mullooly are all in the 25-strong team.

Bethany Firth, Jonathan Fox and Steph Slater, who missed last summer's World Championships because of injury, return to the international scene.

Burger to join Saracens

Rugby Union

South Africa flanker Schalk Burger has agreed to join Aviva Premiership champions Saracens on a two-year deal from next season. 

The 32-year-old back row will arrive after spells at Japanese club Suntory Sungoliath and Super Rugby province Stormers.

Burger has won 86 caps and played at four World Cups, including the Springboks' win in 2007.

Schalk Burger
Getty Images