Zidane never left Madrid, says Casemiro

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Zinedine Zidane "never left" Real Madrid according to Casemiro, who lauded the Frenchman after his reappointment.

Zidane quit Madrid after guiding the European giants to a third successive Champions League title last season, however, he returned this month.

Madrid turned to Zidane following the sacking of head coach Santiago Solari amid the club's LaLiga struggles and Champions League last-16 exit.

"Our coach is an icon of the club. Not only as a player but also as a coach," Madrid midfielder Casemiro told Marca.

"Zidane has shown that he is more than a coach. For the team, Zidane never left - he left his way of playing. He surely suffered with us at this time and that's why he returned. Zidane hadn't left."

Zidane won his first match back prior to the international break – a 2-0 victory over Celta Vigo at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Madrid are third in LaLiga, 12 points behind bitter rivals and leaders Barcelona after 28 games.

Casemiro added: "Zidane never left, and we've always had a huge affection for him. He conveys love and returned normally, being the same Zizou as always.

"He is one of the keys to winning titles and has already shown that in recent years. With him we're surely going to fight for titles."

Zidane's Madrid are at home to bottom side Huesca in the Spanish capital on Sunday.