Zidane announces shock Real exit

In an unexpected move, Zinedine Zidane has announced he is leaving Real Madrid, just five days after winning a third consecutive Champions League trophy.

Zidane made the announcement at the capital club’s Valdebebas training ground on Tuesday evening.

“This is the right moment for everyone, it might seem a bit strange, but it had to be done for the good of everyone, the players, the club, and myself,” he reportedly told members of the press. “This team must keep winning, and it needs a change after three years, another voice, another method of working.”

“Of course, I could return, I’ll always be near to this club as it’s close to my heart. I think many won’t understand but I know it’s the right time. Time for a change. And for the players too.”

The French manager — who was appointed in January 2016 — won nine trophies in total, including the La Liga title in his first full season. In 2017, he became the first manager to defend the European cup in the Champions League era. Saturday’s 3-1 victory against Liverpool in Kiev extended his remarkable run.

Zidane, under contract until 2020, gave no explicit reason for stepping down, but said he is not currently seeking to coach another team.

Managerial pressure at Los Blancos is known to be at the highest level, with coaches regularly being axed for failing to realise the club’s exceptional ambitions. Zidane himself found his name swirling with exit rumours after a terrible start to the league. After tasting European glory for a third time, however, it seems highly unlikely that he was nudged out the door. Madrid president Florentino Perez, by all accounts, appeared uncomfortable during the outgoing manager’s exit announcement.

“This was a totally unexpected decision and today is a sad day for me and for everyone who works for this club,” Perez said.

“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.”

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Luke Feltham
Luke Feltham

Luke Feltham runs the Mail & Guardian's sports desk. He was previously the online day editor.

Related stories

Lampard vs Arteta: Managers of a forgotten generation

Two of football’s youngest coaches are competing for one of its highest honours. This tells us something about how the Premier League appoints manager

Klopp and his Beatles move on from ‘Yesterday’

The wait was long and painful, from the endless jokes to that Steven Gerrard slip. But after 30 years Liverpool are finally Premier League champions of England

Pundits cling to football’s racial tropes

A study of European 2019 season commentary suggests prejudice is alive and kicking, but Black Lives Matter and Covid-19 may be changing this

Five talking points from the EPL’s return

The Premier League returned after three months. Here are the things we learnt over the weekend

Paddy Harper: On life in the time of coronavirus

Between load-shedding and the Covid-19 pandemic, things are bleak. At least I’ve stocked up on cannabis

Covid-19 red cards major events

Sporting events, from football and tennis to rugby and cycling, on this year’s calendar are in doubt

Ingonyama Trust Board moves to retrench staff

More than 50 workers at the Ingonyama Trust Board have been issued section 189 notices

No proof of Covid-19 reinfection, yet

Some people report testing positive for Covid-19 after initially having the disease and then testing negative. Scientists are still trying to understand if this means that reinfection is possible

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday