herald

Saturday 18 August 2018

Zizou: 'Change was necessary for club's continued success'

Zinedine Zidane. Photo: REUTERS/Juan Medina
Zinedine Zidane. Photo: REUTERS/Juan Medina

European champions Real Madrid are looking for a new head coach after Zinedine Zidane called time on his short but immensely successful reign at the Bernabeu.

On Saturday Zidane, the 45-year-old Frenchman, led Real to their fourth Champions League trophy in five years - and third under his management - by masterminding victory over Liverpool in Kiev.

However, a disappointing LaLiga campaign which saw Real struggle to finish third, 17 points behind their title-winning foes Barcelona, was plagued by speculation about Zidane’s long-term future.

Real president Florentino Perez said he had only heard of Zidane’s decision to quit late on Wednesday. At a hastily convened press conference less than 24 hours later, Zidane revealed he was stepping down.

He said: “I’ve made the decision not to continue next year as Real Madrid’s head coach.

“I spoke with (Perez) to see what he thought and I think it’s the right time for everyone: for me, the staff and the club... It’s strange for me, but it’s important that I do this for everybody.

“What I do think is that this team must keep winning and to do that they need a change. I believe that after three years they need a new voice, another methodology, and that is why I’ve made this decision.”

Perez, who sat alongside Zidane on Thursday afternoon, said: “This was a totally unexpected decision, Zidane informed me of his choice yesterday. I thank him for the work he has done.”

Zidane added: “I love this club very much and also the president, who gave me the opportunity to come and play in Madrid, at this great club, and I will be grateful for the rest of my life.

“But today we had to make a change.”

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