• Saturday, May 18, 2024
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BusinessDay

Zidane quits as Real Madrid coach

Zinedine Zidane

Zinedine Zidane has resigned as Real Madrid manager, according to media reports, days after Madrid were beaten to the LaLiga title by Atletico Madrid.

Zidane’s departure comes after a disappointing season for the 13-time European champions, who also lost to Chelsea in the Champions League semi-finals as they failed to win a trophy for the first time in 11 seasons.

News broke on Wednesday night that Zidane has decided to call time on his second stint as Real Madrid manager in wake of a poor campaign.

Just recently, Zidane had refused to commit to remaining in the job next season, leading to widespread speculation that he was planning to leave.

“You might think I walk away from responsibility or leave when things get complicated, but no, never,” Zidane said on May 15 when pushed on his future. “What I do is give everything, to the end, and then the moment comes to change… I don’t leave because it’s easy. There are moments when you have to stay, and others when you have to go.”

Zidane later dismissed reports that he had already informed his players of his intention to quit, calling those reports “a lie.”

“How am I going to say to the players that I’m leaving now? We’re fighting for the league, and I say that I’m going? Why would I say that? At the end of the season we will see what happens,” he said after Madrid’s 1-0 win at Athletic Bilbao on May 16 in their penultimate LaLiga fixture.

However, sources among the squad were that Zidane was likely to depart, with talks planned with the club at the end of the season.

Zidane, 48, returned to the Real Madrid job in 2019, having previously been in charge from 2016 to 2018.

Before that, Zidane spent five years at the club as a player, worked as an assistant to Carlo Ancelotti, and coached B-team Castilla before being offered the first-team job in January 2016.

Zidane won an unprecedented three consecutive Champions League trophies in 2016, 2017 and 2018, as well as the club’s first LaLiga title in five years in 2017.

Zidane’s man-management, proved popular with the players.

He first resigned in May 2018, saying he believed the squad would benefit from a change of coach.

Real Madrid will issue an official announcement of his departure in the next hours or days.