Zinedine Zidane has announced that he is leaving Real Madrid less than a week after guiding them to an unprecedented third successive Champions League title. The club revealed yesterday that Zidane was to show up in a hastily arranged news conference that caught many by surprise, fuelling speculation that his tenure at the Santiago Bernabeu could be coming to a shocking end. Zidane confirmed his departure at the start of the news briefing, just five days after he presided over the 3-1 Champions League final win over Liverpool .
“I have decided not to be Real Madrid coach next season,” said Zidane, who was flanked by club president Florentino Perez. “I spoke to Florentino yesterday [Wednesday] to tell him my thoughts, my feelings. I know it’s a strange moment for everyone involved, but I think it’s the right decision.”
Even with European success, which he also managed in each of his first two seasons in charge of the team, that has not been enough to persuade him to continue his stay at the helm of affairs.
Madrid’s third-place La Liga finish is likely the major factor in Zidane’s departure, as Los Blancos ended the season 17 points behind bitter rivals and champions Barcelona. The Real Madrid icon however, confirm that he was not pushed out of the exit door.
“It’s my decision,” he said. “For many people, this will not make sense, but it does for me. It’s time for a change.
“There have been tough times, the Copa del Rey notably, and I don’t forget those. This club is in my heart. It ended well for me when I was a player and it’s ended well for me as a manager.”
Zidane was appointed as Real Madrid boss in January 2016 and took charge of Madrid 149 times. He won 105 of those games and Zidane walks away with nine trophies in an ultra-successful tenure: three Champions League crowns, one Liga title, two UEFA Super Cups, two Club World Cups and one Spanish Supercopa.