Soccer great Zinedine Zidane has said that he quit the manager’s post at Spanish football club Real Madrid because he felt the club “no longer had faith” in him.
The former French captain left Real Madrid on May 27 after the team failed to win a trophy during the 2020-21 season.
Zidane, 48, was the manager of the La Liga club first from 2016-2018. He quit then and returned 10 months later in March 2019 for a second time. ‘Zizou’ played for Real from 2001 to 2006, won three consecutive Champions League titles and a La Liga title in his first period as manager.
In an open letter to fans, the footballer said, “I have now decided to leave…I’m going, but I’m not jumping overboard, nor am I tired of coaching. 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.”
“In May 2018 I left because after two and a half years, with so many victories and so many trophies, I felt the team needed a new approach to stay at the very highest level. Right now, things are different,” he wrote.
“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.”
Zidane termed his 20-year stay at Madrid “the most beautiful thing that’s happened” in his life and that he would “always be grateful” to Real president Florentino Perez, who “backed me in 2001, he fought to get me, to bring me here when some people were against it. I say it from the heart when I say that I will always be grateful to the ‘presi’ for that. Always.”
“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,” Zidane 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,” he said.