'Zidane never left Madrid' - Casemiro says club icon suffered as Spanish giants struggled

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The midfielder heaped praise on the club's head coach after his return to the team in the midst of a tough campaign

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 La Liga 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 La Liga, 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." 

While the title seems out of reach for this season, Madrid have already made one big signing heading into the summer since bringing Zidane back. 

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The club landed Porto's Eder Militao​ last week, adding another young talent to the back line, with Casemiro having told AS "I've got to congratulate Real Madrid for signing him because half of Europe wanted him."

But there is still work to be done this season for Los Blancos, who have 10 matches left in the La Liga season. 

Zidane's side are at home to bottom side Huesca in the Spanish capital on Sunday as they look to claw back points on La Liga's top two. 

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