Cape Town – Zinedine Zidane has confirmed his shock exit from Spanish giants Real Madrid having led the club to three consecutive Champions League titles.
Zidane called a surprise press conference at Madrid’s Valdebebas training ground before confirming his sensational exit from the club.
It is now being speculated that former player and youth academy coach Guti Hernandez is tipped as a replacement if a high-profile coach such as Mauricio Pochetinno cannot be brought in.
The 46-year-old led Madrid to a third consecutive Champions League title in a 3-1 win over Liverpool last weekend.
Zidane has won a record-breaking three Champions League trophies since taking over from Rafael Benitez in January 2016 as well as a league title in 2016/17.
It has been a historically successful stint in charge of the Bernabeu club for the rookie coach, becoming the first manager in Champions League history to defend the trophy, in Cardiff last June, before adding a third consecutive win in Kiev last Saturday night.
“I love this club and the president who gave me the chance to play for this club and manage the club of my dreams,” Zidane told reporters.
“But everything changes and that’s why I’ve taken the decision to leave. I spoke to him [Florentino Perez] to explain a little what I was thinking at the moment. First for me, the squad, the club I think it’s a bit of a weird moment but an important one that is good for everyone.
“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.”
Real Madrid president Florentino Perez said: “This was a totally unexpected decision and today is a sad day for me and for everyone who works for this club.
“When he says he’s taken a decision though, we have to accept it. I tried to convince him but I know how it is. He knows he has all our love and support.
“One can’t be prepared for something like this. I remember the first time I went to his house and asked him to coach Real Madrid and he was absolutely convinced he could win things.
“We must thank him for his care and passion for Real Madrid over these years.
“The only thing I want to say is ‘hasta pronto’ [see you soon] because I know he will return, maybe after a rest.”