Zinedine Zidane's Real Madrid return excites Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde

 Zinedine Zidane and Ernesto Valverde
Image: Zinedine Zidane's Real Madrid beat Ernesto Valverde's side twice during his first spell - with Barcelona winning one and the other game ending in a 2-2 draw

Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde says he is looking forward to reigniting his El Clasico rivalry with returning Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane.

Zidane returned to the Bernabeu on Monday, replacing the sacked Santiago Solari, signing a deal until June 2022.

The 46-year-old left in May 2018 after winning three successive Champions League titles but has been out of work since and said that he wants to bring the glory days back in his first press conference back at Real.

Valverde took charge at Barca in May 2017 and has faced Zidane in four El Clasicos - two in the Supercopa de Espana and two in La Liga. Zidane's Real won two of those games, Barcelona one and the other ending in a 2-2 draw.

"As for Zidane, he is a great manager," Valverde said. "He is going to a great club. They are going to be our rivals. I look forward to playing against him."

Zidane with the Champions League trophy
Image: Zinedine Zidane led Real Madrid to the Champions League trophy last season

Valverde's Barca beat Real to the La Liga title last term but it was Zidane's side who were crowned champions of Europe with a 3-1 win over Liverpool in the Champions League final.

However, with Solari in charge, Real crashed out in the last 16 to Ajax this season, and when quizzed on their rivals' early exit, Valverde said that Barca must be careful to avoid a repeat against Lyon on Wednesday night.

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"If teams like Real Madrid and PSG are going out of the Champions League (this early) that's important because it shows surprises can happen," he added.

Ajax
Image: Ajax eliminated Real Madrid in the Champions League last 16

"We need to keep an eye on things. The fact that such big teams have gone out of the competition means that we have to be careful.

"Lyon will be coming here with a very strong attack. (They have) very quick and powerful players up front, I'm sure they will try to use that.

"They know how important it would be to get an away goal tomorrow, so I'm sure they will be looking for that too."

The first leg between Barca and Lyon ended goalless at the Olympique Lyonnais, meaning it is all to play for in the second leg at the Nou Camp on Wednesday.

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