The 1998 World Cup hero and three times UEFA Champions League winner Zinedine Zidane has stepped down as head coach of Spanish giants Real Madrid after just two years since his return for a second stint with the Los Blancos.
Zidane’s decision comes just days after the completion of the La Liga seson, which saw Real finish second in the league behind city rivals Atletico Madrid in a tense finale.
The Frenchman had returned for a second term at the club in 2019 and led them to the La Liga title last season, but failed to repeat the feat this time. He also guided the team to the semi-final of the UEFA Champions League, where they lost to Chelsea over two-legs.
In his first stint, he had led the team to a La Liga title and three successive UEFA Champions League wins, which put him in a league of his own among successful European club coaches.
He left the club at the end of the 2017-18 season, at the same time when Real Madrid decided to sell their talisman Cristiano Ronaldo to Juventus. The Spanish giants endured a tough season in 2018-19 and that forced the club to appoint Zidane again in the top job.
His return brought back success to Real Madrid as they won the league in 2019. But this season the odds were stacked against the team due several injury problems to key players and with the club failing to reinforce the squad with a big name player.
“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.”