Real Madrid president Florentino Perez says he does not know who will be the club's next coach, but he wants Zinedine Zidane to "lead its sporting project" from now on.
Perez brought Zidane into Madrid's off-field set-up in 2009, but the Frenchman was sidelined during Jose Mourinho's spell as boss and has rarely been seen in Spain in recent times.
However, the former France international met the Madrid chief for two hours on Monday at the latter's office, where the pair reportedly discussed who might succeed Mourinho and which players should be bought and sold this summer.
Perez later told radio show El Larguero that the former Madrid 'galactico' would be a key figure at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu in the future, and could one day even coach the club.
"We do not know who will be the coach," Perez said. "But we want Zidane to lead the whole sporting project. I did not believe that Zidane wanted to be coach, but in these years he has decided to be one. He is the sporting director and I would like a person such as him, with his status and knowledge, to be coach someday. At the moment, when we choose a coach, he and Zidane will analyse the state of the team to give it a jump in quality. We want to be the best again."
The Spanish media remains certain that current Paris Saint-Germain boss Carlo Ancelotti will soon be arriving in Madrid, with outgoing Bayern Munich coach Jupp Heynckes next in line should that fall through. The position will likely not be filled until it is known whether Perez will face a challenger in a potential presidential election on June 16.
The construction magnate, who revealed last week that Madrid had contacted PSG about Ancelotti, said the planning for next season would not start in earnest until it was confirmed he would stay on as president.
"If there are no candidates by Tuesday I will take possession and begin on the subject of the coach," Perez said. "First we will speak with [Zidane], because although people do not believe it, we have not spoken with anyone yet. We want Zidane to lead this. He connected with madridismo when he arrived and his only dream is the club. He showed that on the pitch and afterwards with his behaviour."
Perez denied that player power or pressure from the media or club socios had led to Mourinho's exit, and stuck to the "mutual consent" line set when he announced the Portuguese's departure last week.
"I have only heard the players talking well about Mourinho," he said. "They tell me he is demanding and the best coach they have had. All coaches have had the same power [at the club] but each one has his own character. [He is leaving as] the squad has been worn out. We have not had to pay him [to go]. Where Mourinho made mistakes, and he has recognised that, does not change 110 years of history."
Borussia Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp had done an impressive job with the Bundesliga side, but had yet to show he could manage a dressing room full of stars, said the Madrid chief.
"I like him," Perez said. "He is a good coach. Those who know would say if he is good enough for Madrid, but his players [at Dortmund] are closer to kids than those of Madrid."
That suggested Ancelotti, who has guided teams packed with senior internationals to trophies in Italy, England and France, remained the leading candidate for the job, but Perez again said the decision would not be rushed.
He said: "We will not speak about that subject until next week."