Zidane resigns as Real Madrid coach

Frenchman leaves Los Blancos after the club ended the season without a trophy for the first time in 11 years


REUTERS May 27, 2021

MADRID:

Zinedine Zidane has stepped down as Real Madrid coach with immediate effect five days after his team were pipped to the La Liga title by city rivals Atletico Madrid, the Spanish club said on Thursday.

The Frenchman led Real to two league titles and three Champions League triumphs in two spells as coach since 2016.

"Real Madrid announces that Zinedine Zidane has decided to bring an end to his current spell as coach of our club," said Real's statement.

"Now's the time to respect his decision and show our respect and gratitude for his professionalism, dedication and passion in the last few years and for what he represents for Real Madrid.

"Zidane is one of Real Madrid's all-time greats and his legend goes beyond what he has done as a coach and player for our club. He knows that he is always in the heart of the club's supporters and that Real Madrid will always be his home."

Real finished second in La Liga, two points behind Atletico, were knocked out of the Champions League at the semi-final stage by Chelsea and suffered a humiliating exit in the round of 32 of the Copa del Rey to third division minnows Alcoyano.

It was a far cry from Zidane's first three seasons at Real when he guided the club to a hat-trick of Champions League crowns, a La Liga title and two Club World Cups.

The World Cup winner stepped down after the last of those Champions League titles in 2018, saying the club needed a change, but returned in March 2019 on a three-year deal after the club sacked his two successors, Julen Lopetegui and Santiago Solari.

A second La Liga title followed in the Covid-19-affected 2019-20 season. Former Juventus and Chelsea boss Antonio Conte is likely to be in the frame to replace Zidane, having walked away from Inter Milan on Wednesday after leading the club to the Serie A title.

Conte was a target of Real Madrid President Florentino Perez in 2018, according to media reports at the time.  Club captain Sergio Ramos suggested, however, that a disciplinarian style might not go down too well at the Bernabeu.

Club great Raul, who is in charge of the club's reserve side Real Madrid Castilla, is also a candidate for the job. 

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