Zinedine Zidane sensationally quit Real Madrid yesterday evening after landing an historic Champions League hat-trick.
The Frenchman called an unexpected press conference on Thursday afternoon to reveal that he will be leaving after two-and-a-half years in charge.
The 45-year-old, a club legend as player and manager, said he feels this is the right time to go.
Appearing alongside Real president Florentino Perez, Zidane told a news conference said: ‘I have taken the decision to not continue going into the next season. For me and for everybody, I think the moment to change has arrived. It was not an easy decision.”I love this club, I love the president,’ he said. ‘He gave me the opportunity to come as a player and now manager and I am eternally grateful. But we have to change.
‘I will be close to this club for the rest of my life. I want to thank the fans, who always supported me both as a coach and a player. There were tough moments during the season and although I was sometimes whistled at, I want to thank the fans.
‘This is a beautiful moment as we have just won a third straight Champions League and I have now reflected and made this decision. Even the players need this change, I must thank them too.’
‘The most beautiful moment was when the president brought me to play for this great club,’ he said. ‘If there’s one as a coach, it was winning La Liga. For me that was the top.
‘This year the worst was losing the game against Leganes in the second leg of the Copa del Rey. I won’t use the word but you know it.’
Perez said: ‘After winning the Champions League, the decision was unexpected. It is a sad day for me, the fans and the players.
‘But he knows I wanted him as a player and as a manager. I wanted him to stay forever and I wanted to convince him to stay. But I know it was his final decision. All I want to do is remind him that this club is his home and family.’
‘I want to thank him for his commitment and passion to Real Madrid. His behaviour has always been an example for all and representative of Real. I don’t want this to be a goodbye but a “see you soon”. I have no doubt he will come back soon.’
“This was a totally unexpected decision. Zidane informed me of his choice yesterday,” added Perez.
“This is a sad day for me, for the players and for everyone involved with the club. He knows that I wanted to sign him more than anyone as a player, as well as a coach.
“I would love for him to be by my side forever.”
Zidane won 70 per cent of his league games as boss and has only lost four Champions League matches during his tenure.
In all competitions, Zidane just about matched his league record, having won 69 per cent of all the games he had been in charge of.