Zidane says goodbye to Real Madrid
Zinedine Zidane says he is stepping down as Real Madrid boss, five days after leading them to a third straight Champions League triumph, claiming the club needs “a different voice”.
Zidane told a news conference that “everything changes” and “that’s why I took this decision”.
He leaves having guided the Spanish club to three successive Champions League titles and one La Liga success since taking over in January 2016.
“I love this club,” he added.
“What I think is that this team needs to continue winning but I think it needs a change, a different voice, another methodology. And that’s why I took this decision.”
Zidane, 45, took over after Rafael Benitez was sacked and was in charge for 149 games. He steered Real to 104 wins and 29 draws, had 69.8% win rate, and won nine trophies.
However, Real finished third in La Liga in 2017-18 – 17 points behind champions and fierce rivals Barcelona – while they were knocked out of the Copa del Rey at the quarter-final stage by Leganes.
Zidane said in February he would walk away if he felt “there is nothing more to give”.
However, the timing of his announcement still came as a shock just days after Real beat Liverpool 3-1 in the Champions League final.
That win saw him join Bob Paisley (three at Liverpool) and Carlo Ancelotti (AC Milan two, Real Madrid one) as the only managers to have won the Champions League/European Cup three times.
“It’s a strange moment to do so, I know, but an important one too,” added Zidane on Thursday. “I had to do this for everyone.”
Real are looking for their fourth manager in five years.
Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino has been linked with Real in the past. The Argentine signed a new five-year contract at Spurs last week.
Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri could also come into the frame, while Arsene Wenger wants to carry on in management after leaving Arsenal after 22 years in charge.
Italian Maurizio Sarri, most recently of Napoli, is also available.
The decision on who will next manage Real will be made by club president Florentino Perez.
He accompanied Zidane at the news conference and said he wanted to keep the France 1998 World Cup winner.
“This was a totally unexpected decision. Zidane informed me of his choice yesterday,” added Perez.
Zindane’s exit comes after Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo revealed they were contemplating their futures at the club. (BBC Sport)