Zinedine Zidane has stepped down as Real Madrid head coach five days after celebrating three consecutive Champions League titles with victory over Liverpool in Kiev.
Zidane announced his decision in Madrid on Thursday morning. Sat alongside Real president Florentino Perez, the World Cup winner said he felt he had taken the club as far as he could: “I have taken the decision to not continue into the next season. For me and for everybody, I think the moment to change has arrived. It was not an easy decision.
“This is my decision,” he said. “Maybe it’s a mistake. But I feel it’s time. If I don’t think that we can keep winning then it’s time. How can I ask more from the players? Big players need a change.”
Perez added: “This was a totally unexpected decision, Zidane informed me of his choice yesterday. I thank him for the work he has done.”
The Frenchman, formerly coach of Real Madrid Castilla, was appointed as head coach of the Real first team in January 2016 after the dismissal of Rafa Benítez, and guided the club to the Champions League title by beating Atlético Madrid on penalties in the final.
He won the Spanish league title in his second season, then became the first manager to win the Champions League in his first three seasons when Real defeated Juventus in the 2017 final, and Liverpool this month.
“A change is needed. I’m not going to get involved in these things,” he said when asked about a possible successor. “I’m not here to talk about the future of this team.”