Zinedine Zidane stepped down as Real Madrid manager on Thursday less than a week after claiming his third consecutive UEFA Champions League title in the role.
The shock announcement was rumoured when a snap press conference was called Thursday, with Frenchman Zidane subsequently confirming his resignation, per Spanish football writer Dermot Corrigan:
Zidane has resigned as Madrid coach confirmed. "I've taken the decision to not continue next year as Real Madrid coach."
— Dermot Corrigan (@dermotmcorrigan) May 31, 2018
BREAKING: Zinedine Zidane leaves Real Madrid after winning three Champions League titles in three years pic.twitter.com/qBrRy4Hidi
— B/R Football (@brfootball) May 31, 2018
Per Ed Malyon of The Independent, Zidane added it is not necessarily goodbye forever to Real:
“Like I told the president it could be a ‘see you soon’ because Madrid has given me everything. I will still be close to the club, but this decision is a clear one that might not make sense to some people, but it is the moment to make a change, for the players as well.”
He also said: “I’m not going to coach another team right now. I’m not looking for another team.”
Zidane was only appointed Real boss in January 2016 after Rafael Benitez was sacked but went on to lead Real to their 11th Champions League as they beat Atletico Madrid on penalties having finished runners-up in La Liga.
Zidane then won a La Liga and Champions League double in his first full season in charge at the club and masterminded a third victory in Europe’s biggest club tournament in last Saturday’s final, with Real beating Liverpool 3-1 in Kiev, Ukraine.
After adding two UEFA Super Cups, two FIFA Club World Cups and a Spanish Super Cup, Zidane’s trophy haul as Real manager comes to nine in under two-and-a-half years.
Zinedine Zidane won a trophy every 97.6 days on average whilst in charge of Real Madrid.
He won 9 of the 13 trophies available to him. 😳 pic.twitter.com/IAs73aAWqG
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) May 31, 2018
The 45-year-old will likely now be overwhelmed with offers of work, and the French national team job could be up for grabs depending on how Les Bleus fare at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, per French football writer Robin Bairner:
Suggestions for Zidane’s replacement range from current Chelsea boss Antonio Conte to former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger:
And if Zidane leaves,
Joachim Loew to be next Real Madrid manager as per the meetings with Florentino Perez?
Or does Antonio Conte still has some chances?
— Tancredi Palmeri (@tancredipalmeri) May 31, 2018
Despite having only held a senior management role for fewer than three years he has matched the achievement of Bob Paisley and Carlo Ancelotti by winning the Champions League three times and eclipsed the likes of Pep Guardiola, Jose Mourinho, Sir Alex Ferguson and Brian Clough in that regard.