Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane dropped a bombshell today, quitting the Spanish giants just days after winning the Champions League for a record third year in a row.
The 45-year-old former international decided to quit at the top saying that it was time for a change for himself and the club and admitting he was unsure of his ability to maintain his winning record at Real.
But he added that no other club was involved in his decision to part ways with Real. While experts have linked him to the French national team coaching job, Zidane insisted he is eyeing no other position at this time.
“I have taken the decision to not continue next year as Real Madrid coach,” the Frenchman told a hastily-convened press conference. “This club deserves to continue to win and needs a change” he said, adding that he believed the “moment has come”.
After three years the club needs another discourse, another method of working. I have thought a lot about this decision and I can’t go back on it.Zinedine Zidane
He added that he was unsure of his ability to inspire the team to more victories. “I don't see myself continuing to win this year and I am a winner, I don't like to lose,” added Zidane, who was under contract with Real until 2020.
Real beat Liverpool 3-1 in the final in Kiev on Saturday, making Zidane the only coach in history to win three successive Champions League titles. Zidane has now won nine trophies since replacing Rafael Benitez in the Santiago Bernabeu dugout in January 2016.
He was flanked at the press conference by Real Madrid president Florentino Perez who said Zidane’s announcement was “totally unexpected”. When Benitez was sacked in January 2016, Barcelona daily Mundo Deportivo dismissed Zidane as merely a “sticking plaster”, who would be replaced quickly by a permanent coach.
But Zidane won the confidence of players and the rest is history.
“This is a sad day,” Perez said. “This house will be his family forever, he triumphed and won everything, as you know. I thank him for his commitment, his passion. I have no doubt that he will return.”