Zidane left Real Madrid because club had ‘no faith’ in him

Former France international stepped down last week after Real suffered their first trophy-less season in 11 years.

Zidane returned to Real for a second spell in March 2019 after having won two La Liga titles and three consecutive Champions League titles in his first stint from 2016 to 2018 [File: Susana Vera/Reuters]
Zidane returned to Real for a second spell in March 2019 after having won two La Liga titles and three consecutive Champions League titles in his first stint from 2016 to 2018 [File: Susana Vera/Reuters]

Zinedine Zidane stepped down as Real Madrid coach because the club had “no faith” in him.

Zidane returned to Real for a second spell in March 2019 after having won two La Liga titles and three consecutive Champions League titles in his first stint from 2016 to 2018.

However, he stepped down last week after Real suffered their first trophy-less season in 11 years, finishing second in La Liga, being knocked out of the Champions League semi-finals and suffering a humiliating Copa del Rey exit in the round-of-32 to third division minnows Alcoyano.

In an open letter published in sports daily AS on Monday, Zidane said the first time he left as coach in 2018 was because he felt the team needed a new approach to stay at the highest level after enjoying so much success.

“Right now, things are different … 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,” Zidane wrote, with the 48-year-old adding he deserved more recognition from the club for his work.

“What we achieved together has to be respected. I know football and I know the demands of a club like Madrid. I know that when you don’t win you have to go,” he said. “But this time, something very important has been forgotten, everything that I have built on a daily basis has been forgotten, what I have contributed in the relationship with the players and with the 150 people who work at the club.”

Zidane said “in a way he felt reproached” by the club for trying to work on those relationships.

“I was born a winner and I was here to win trophies, but beyond this there are human beings, emotions, life … and I feel that these things have not been valued, that it wasn’t understood that those things are also important for a great club,” he said.

‘Hurt a lot’

“I wasn’t asking for privileges, of course not, but for some memory,” Zidane said. “These days coaches don’t often stay more than two seasons with a top club. For that to change, human relationships are essential, they are more important than money, more important than fame, more important than everything.”

He said it “hurt a lot” to constantly read in the media that he was in danger of being fired.

“It hurt me and it hurt the squad because these messages that were intentionally leaked to the media created negative interference within the team.”

Following Zidane’s departure on Thursday, Real Madrid said it respected his decision and expressed its “gratitude for his professionalism, dedication and passion over the years and what he means to Real Madrid”.

Zidane ”is aware that he has a place in the hearts of the Real Madrid fans and that he will always have a home at Real Madrid”, the club added.

The club has yet to announce a replacement for Zidane, with Antonio Conte, Mauricio Pochettino, and former players Xabi Alonso and Raul Gonzalez among possible candidates.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies

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