Zinedine Zidane quits Real Madrid
Zinedine Zidane has announced that he will be stepping down as Real Madrid boss after two years in charge of the club.
The Frenchman called an unexpected press conference on Thursday afternoon to confirm that he will be leaving his position as the first-team head coach, despite his continued success in the Champions League.
The 45-year-old was believed to be under contract with Real until 2020 but a poor campaign in the league appears to have ended his fairytale at the club where he played as a midfielder for five years.
Arsene Wenger and Antonio Conte are the bookies favourites to replace Zidane at Real, with Conte 4/1 to take over.
Zidane, the former Real, Juventus and Bordeaux midfielder, is understood to be under contract in Madrid until 2020.
Stepping up from managing the ‘Castilla’ B team, he replaced Rafael Benitez in January 2016 and although Real were runners-up to Barcelona at the end of the league campaign, he toasted European glory as city rivals Atletico Madrid were vanquished after a penalty shootout in Milan.
Zidane followed up his maiden Champions League crown as a coach with a LaLiga title and in June 2017 his side delivered a more emphatic European Cup final triumph as his former employers Juve were humbled 4-1 in Cardiff.
Although Real lost only two of their first 15 league matches in the recently concluded Spanish championship, Ernesto Valverde’s Barca were able to run away with the league following their vital 3-0 El Clasico win at the Bernabeu in December.
Zidane did stabilise results and duly blazed a trail to Kiev in the continental competition, but reports of dissatisfaction with his approach to domestic matters – namely the handling of star forward Gareth Bale, who has publicly expressed his own unhappiness with a reduced role – meant for regular reports of a potential summer exit.
The 45-year-old has an incredible record with the club statistically speaking.
The Frenchman celebrates Gareth Bale’s overhead kick against Liverpool on Saturday
Zidane has won 70 per cent of his league games as boss and has only lost four Champions League games during his tenure.
In all competitions, Zidane just about matches his league record, having won 69 per cent of all the games he has been in charge of.
Despite his success in Spain and Europe with Real Madrid, he has had his future questioned this season, after a poor run of form see them fail to challenge Barcelona and Atletico Madrid at the top of the table.
Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino has previously been linked with the position but he put the rumours to bed after signing a new deal with Spurs.