Earlier today, Zinedine Zidane announced his departure from the position of Real Madrid’s manager after the team’s third successive Champions League win.
Zidane played for Madrid 155 times before transitioning to coaching. He was the assistant coach for the football club under Carlo Ancelotti during the 2013-14 football season. After a successful year, transitioned to manager of the Real Madrid B team, Castilla. In 2016, Zidane became the coach of the first team. Under his supervision, Real Madrid won three consecutive UEFA Champions League titles. In 2017, Zidane was named Best FIFA Men’s Coach for his successful management.
At 12 p.m. BST today, Real Madrid called a press conference at the Bernabeu to discuss the futures of Zidane and the key players of the club, such as Ronaldo and Gareth Bale. At the conference, the 45-year-old confirmed that he would be leaving Madrid.
He said, “I am doing this for the good of this team, for this club. It would have been difficult for me to win again next year. There have been good moments, but also difficult times. I do not forget that. And at this club, you must know this: I do not want to start a season and have a bad time. I want to end with Real Madrid when everything is going well. I did it as a player, and now again as a coach. This [is] the right moment to end things well.”
He said his decision is motivated by a lack of inspiration on how to lead the team in the future. He mentioned that there had been difficult times during his tenure as coach and that he did not feel like he could ask more of the players working with him. He additionally emphasized that his decision had nothing to do with drama with any of the players.
He stressed, “I had the respect of all, above all, the players, which has been fundamental in achieving things. The players have nothing to do with my decision. It is about what I think. After three years, it is difficult to keep coaching, above all, having won three Champions Leagues. And I did not see so clear that we would win again. If I have the feeling I will not win, a change must be made. As a player, if I was not happy as I was not winning, I left myself, did not blame other people, took a decision, and that’s that.”
Zidane also made sure to mention that he felt that leaving right now would ensure his relationships with the team would stay solid. In this way, he said, he could potentially return to Madrid in the future.
He said, “It is a difficult moment, as I am saying I am leaving, but it is not a sad day for me. It is just an ‘until soon.’ I will always be close to this club. I know many people here, and that relationship will not change, not with the president either. I am not tired of coaching after three years. But it is the moment to [leave] now. I’m not going to manage another side now. I’m not looking for another team.”
Twitter went haywire as soon as the news of Zidane leaving Madrid was public.
If I had to choose between my girl leaving me and Zidane leaving Madrid
I would be single now
This hurts yo ?
— Soldier↪ (@PatohShanqueels) May 31, 2018
When Florentino Pérez reacts like this for someone that is leaving the club, You know it, that a gem is going away. Zidane is a Real Madrid legend, as a player and as a coach.
Hope to see you back someday boss. pic.twitter.com/0Ugg4mSPQA
— Mayank (@incredlBale) May 31, 2018
Tbh Zidane just headbutted all us Madrid fans ?????
— Soldier↪ (@PatohShanqueels) May 31, 2018
1 million tweets, Zidane really broke the internet pic.twitter.com/HuO1i50D2g
— Yassine (@SwishFutbol) May 31, 2018
Zidane 2.5 years as a coach:
3 Champions Leagues
Pep Guardiola 10 years as a coach:
2 Champions League
Zidane the greatest baldy ever has already out done Pep's Legacy.
The angel and the Devil. pic.twitter.com/1HPhQ2dN6h
— RM without Zidane ? (@_RIZmadridista) May 31, 2018
Thanks Zidane …
I came and we are in crisis, and we went to the summit pic.twitter.com/XaB89Ilj9s
— Haji Bashir Samangani (@HajiSamangani) May 31, 2018
Players also reacted to Zidane’s departure. Christiano Ronaldo took to Instagram to write a message for his coach. The translated message reads, “I’m just proud of being your player. Mister, thanks for so much.”
Lucas Vazquez wrote, “It has been a real pleasure to play your orders, mister. Legend as a player, and now you are also a coach. It has been an honor to learn and win by your side. I wish you the best. Thanks and see you soon.”
Sergio Ramos said, “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
Casemiro wrote, “I have no words to thank you for everything you’ve done for this wardrobe, for Real Madrid and for Real Madrid. It has been a pride and a privilege to have my idol as a coach. Eternal Zizou.”
Toni Kroos said, “Gracias Mister! It’s been a pleasure!”
Real Madrid’s official Twitter also uploaded a simple tribute honoring the coach.
Florentino Perez, the club president, said that while he was surprised when Zidane told him the news on Wednesday, he knew better than to convince the coach out of his plans. Zidane also stressed during the press conference that his decision to leave had nothing to do with the uncertainty around Christiano Ronaldo’s future in the team.