Zinedine Zidane has broken his silence on his second departure as Real Madrid manager, claiming he left because he felt the club no longer had faith in him and could not offer the support he needed to rebuild the team.
The France legend quit the Bernabeu last week after Los Blancos’ first trophyless season for 11 years.
The Frenchman won three consecutive Champions League titles and had a LaLiga triumph in his first spell as manager between 2016 and 2018 and secured another league championship on his return after a year’s hiatus.
But this season has been a failure for the Spanish giants, who lost out on the LaLiga title to rivals Atletico Madrid and were knocked out of the Champions League at the semi-final stage by eventual winners Chelsea.
Zidane quit the club despite having 12 months remaining on his contract, and he has since been linked with jobs in the Premier League with Manchester United and Tottenham, as well as a return to his native France with Paris Saint-Germain.
And in an open letter to Real Madrid fans published by Spanish newspaper AS, he explained his reasons for leaving early.
“I’m going, but I’m not jumping overboard, nor am I tired of coaching,” wrote the 48-year-old.
“I’m leaving because I feel the club no longer has the faith in me I need, nor the support to build something in the medium or long term.
“I understand football and I know the demands of a club like Real Madrid. I know when you don’t win, you have to leave.
“I’m a natural-born winner and I was here to win trophies, but even more important than this are the people, their feelings, life itself and I have the sensation these things have not been taken into account.
“There has been a failure to understand that these things also keep the dynamics of a great club going. To some extent I have even been rebuked for it.”
There has been a sense the fortunes of the club, which won three Champions League titles back-to-back-to-back under Zidane, have been fading for some time and that a significant rebuild is needed.
Long-standing captain and talisman Sergio Ramos is 35, Karim Benzema is 34 in December while the likes of Marcelo (33), Toni Kroos (31) and Eden Hazard (30) are all over 30 now while Luka Modric was this month given a year’s contract extension despite turning 36 at the start of next season.
Zidane also felt his personal worth to the club was not fully appreciated.
“I want there to be respect for what we have achieved together. I would have liked my relationship with the club and the president over the past few months to have been a little different to that of other coaches,” he added.
“I wasn’t asking for privileges, of course not, just a little more recollection.
“These days the life of a coach in the dugout at a big club is two seasons, little more.
“For it to last longer the human relationships are essential, they are more important than money, more important than fame, more important than everything. They need to be nurtured.”
Zidane was quickly linked with a move to the Premier League following the news of his latest Real Madrid exit.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is under pressure at Man United following the Red Devils’ Europa League final defeat, while Tottenham are still searching for their next permanent manager.
However, talkSPORT was told last week that PSG could be a more likely next destination, in a move that could see Mauricio Pochettino return to Spurs.
French football writer Erik Bieldermann said: “Zidane has officially left Real Madrid and Zidane has said he wants to go back to business as soon as possible – we were expecting him to go to Juventus, but they now have Max Allegri.
“We were expecting Zidane to wait for Didier Deschamps to resign as France manager after the 2022 World Cup, but now you just think, this English story about Pochettino willing to go back to Spurs, and in the meantime Zidane is on the market.
“Being the manager of PSG is the impossible job in France, like being the manager of the national team is in England.
“It’s about winning the Champions League but also for the manager it’s about being free. The coach doesn’t have control at PSG, they are not the real bosses – just have a word with Carlo Ancelotti, Unai Emery and Thomas Tuchel.
“They will all complain about the fact the manager is not the power man at PSG, the power man is all the dressing room, the chairman and his right-hand man, Leonardo.
“Of all the top managers in the world, I would say Zidane and Pep Guardiola might be the two who can say… what I can’t even say here to stay polite on the radio.”
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