Sources: Zidane to leave Real Madrid

Madrid, May 26 (EFE).- Zinedine Zidane notified Real Madrid officials and players on Wednesday that he wants to end his second stint as coach even though he has a year left on his contract, sources at the club told Efe.

The Frenchman shared his decision with several players via text message and planned to meet with Real Madrid president Florentino Perez, the sources said.

Last Saturday, Zidane brushed aside questions about his plans after the Blancos won their final match of the LaLiga season only to finish in second place, 2 points behind champions Atletico Madrid.

“The most important thing is not me, it is what the players have done all season. I must congratulate them and reflect with time, with calmness. I will speak calmly with the club later, not now,” he told reporters after the 2-1 victory against Villarreal.

Besides falling short in their fight to retain the LaLiga title, the Blancos were dumped out of the Copa del Rey in the round of 32 by a third-division side, lost to Athletic in the final four of the Spanish Super Cup and lost their Champions League semifinal tie with Chelsea.

It is the first season since 2009-2010 that Real Madrid has failed to win a trophy.

The man who led France to victory in the 1998 World Cup first took charge of Real Madrid at mid-season in January 2016 and left unexpectedly after the Blancos won the Champions League for the third consecutive time in 2018.

Club management persuaded him to return in March 2019 and Zidane guided the Blancos to their 34th LaLiga title in 2020, bringing to 11 the number of trophies won with him at the helm.

The only Real Madrid manager with more, Miguel Muñoz, accumulated his 14 titles in 14 years.

Zidane has hinted in recent months that he might step down at the end of the season.

With the Frenchman’s future up in the air, speculation about a possible successor to Zidane with Real Madrid has thrown up names such as Raul Gonzalez, currently coach of the club’s B team, Castilla, as well as Massimiliano Allegri and Antonio Conte, who quit Wednesday as manager of Inter Milan after leading them to their first Serie A title in 11 years. EFE rmm/dr

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