Real Madrid legend Zinedine Zidane has shocked the football world by resigning as the club’s manager just five days after winning his third straight UEFA Champions League trophy.
Zidane told club president Florentino Perez of his plans on Wednesday as he believes the team needs a change.
“I love this club, I love the president,” Zidane, 45, said during a press conference in Madrid on Thursday.
“He gave me the opportunity to come as a player and now manager and I am eternally grateful. But we have to change.”
On the timing of his exit, Zidane said: “It can be a “see you later”. Madrid has given me everything. I will be close to this club all my life.
“But the decision, for many, doesn’t make sense. But it does to me. It is the moment to make a change.
“I think it is the right decision for everyone. I have to thank the fans for all their support and love.
“We have had complicated moments of the season, when you are not at your best, the fans push you and that made us better.”
Zidane, who scored a memorable goal in the final as Real won the Champions League in 2002, added: “I think the players need a change but I should thank them because at the end of the day it’s them that fight out there and this is a club of very high expectations.
“We always want more and more, I couldn’t ask for more from these players but now is the time for them to have a different voice in the changing room.
“It’s not as simple as just staying. I think it would be difficult to keep winning if I stayed.’
“The squad already knows. I’ve not talked to them all individually but they all know, by message, yes.
“I spoke with the captains and with Sergio Ramos.
“As always as a person and captain, we have lived a lot together, he respects my decision. He wished me luck. He is a leader, a captain and it has been a pleasure to share three more years with him.”