Real Madrid stunned as Zidane steps down as manager

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Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane dropped a bombshell Thursday, 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 leave at the top saying 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 said no other club was involved in his decision to part ways with Real and although 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,” he added

Zidane said 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.

“I have thought a lot about this decision and I can’t go back on it.”

Real beat Liverpool 3-1 in the final in Kiev on Saturday, making Zidane the first 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.

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.

Real’s captain Sergio Ramos tweeted his reaction, in English and Spanish, above a photo of the two men with the Champions League trophy.

“As a player and coach you decided to say goodbye at the top. Thank you for two and a half incredible years. Your legacy will never be erased, one of the most successful chapters in the history of our beloved realmadrid,” Ramos wrote.

At the press conference Zidane was flanked by Real Madrid president Florentino Perez who said Zidane’s announcement was “totally unexpected”.

“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.”

Reports in Britain say Real may now try to lure Mauricio Pochettino to Madrid from English Premier League club Tottenham.

The Argentinian has just signed a five-year contract to remain at Tottenham, but some reports said that might contain a get-out clause in the event of an approach from Real.

Many British bookmakers however make former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger their favourite as speculation ran rampant over the identity of the next man in the Madrid hot seat. – AFP

Story first published: 1st June 2018

Originally Posted on SamaaNews

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