Zinedine Zidane has explained his shock decision to resign as Real Madrid coach comes down to his doubts over whether the club could continue to win titles consistently under his stewardship.
The Frenchman took the football world by surprise on Thursday when, at a hastily arranged news conference, he announced he is leaving the club.
Zidane’s decision comes just five days after guiding Madrid to a third successive Champions League title in Kiev by beating Liverpool 3-1 – his ninth trophy since taking charge in January 2016.
The 45-year-old took charge of the club in January 2016 and has enjoyed an incredible tenure, but he was simply unsure they could continue to keep winning with him at the helm.
“There are lows and sometimes you might ask yourself if you’re still right person for the job,” Zidane said.
“It’s hard to sometimes to forget the lows. We finished on a high of the third Champions League in a row, but you reflect, think things through.
“I did that and I think it’s the right time. I think the players need a change. I’d like to thank them – they’re the ones on the pitch.
“It’s such a demanding club, look at the history and tradition. I always ask for more from the players, so how can I ask for more after what we’ve achieved?
“I just think after three years I feel it’s the right time. I might be wrong, but I think it’s the right time. If I’m not sure 100 per cent that we keep winning if I’ve maybe got doubts, I think it’s maybe time to leave.”
Although Madrid claimed the Champions League title again, there were regular mutterings throughout the season that Zidane was under pressure due to their underwhelming LaLiga campaign.
Madrid finished third, 17 points behind champions and rivals Barcelona, and Zidane suggested this failure played a part in his decision.
“I think there are stages, periods you go through and sometimes you need to know when to stop,” he continued. “I think it’s the right decision for the team.
“I think if I was manager next season it would’ve been tough to win titles. We’ve seen in the league and Copa del Rey this season; there have been highs and lows.
“I can’t forget the domestic campaign that easily. It has been difficult in the league this year, there were moments I can’t forget.
“When we are in this club we have to know if it is a question of having another season of continuity or starting a season that ends badly. I think this is the right time to finish on a high.”