Zinedine Zidane steps down as Real Madrid manager

Zinedine Zidane steps down as Real Madrid manager”

Zidane won nine major honours as Real coach and the 45-year-olds crowning glory came last Saturday as he joined an elite group of managers including Bob Paisley and Carlo Ancelotti by lifting the European Cup for the third time as coach.

The Frenchman announced his shock decision at a press conference on Thursday.

Zidane took over at Real Madrid following the sacking of Rafa Benitez in January 2016 and won three successive Champions League titles, as well as the Liga title in 2016-17. "It might seem a bit unusual but it had to be done for the good of everyone, the players, the club and myself". After three years they need a new voice, a new way of saying things, perhaps a new way of working.

"I think its the moment, both for me, the team and the club (to step down)". I want to thank the fans - they've always backed me as a manager and as a player.

Although Real lost only two of their first 15 league matches in the recently concluded Spanish championship, Ernesto Valverde's Barca were able to run away with the league following their vital 3-0 El Clasico win at the Bernabeu in December.

" When he says he's taken a decision though, we have to accept it.

I will be here close to this club all my life".

Pérez added: "This was a totally unexpected decision, Zidane informed me of his choice yesterday". But (Zidane) knows I wanted him as a player and as a manager.

Here are a quintet of early candidates in the frame to take on the challenge of replacing Zidane.

"Real Madrid has given everything to me", he stated. I do not forget the hard times, as well as the good times, and that makes you reflect. "I'm not here to talk about the future of this team". After three years, it's what I have made a decision to do.

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