Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane is leaving the European champions after winning an unprecedented third straight UEFA Champions League title.
“I think it’s the moment, both for me, the team and the club to step down.
“It’s a strange moment to do so, I know, but an important one too. I had to do this for everyone,” he said.
“This side should carry on winning and needs a change for this.
“After three years it needs another voice, another method of work. For this I took this decision,’’ he told a news conference on Thursday in Madrid.
Zidane became the first coach to win a third straight European Cup when Real Madrid beat Liverpool 3-1 on Saturday.
It capped a remarkable period in his first job in senior club management.
“I love this club a lot, the President, who gave me everything — to play first at this great club. I’ll always be thankful.
“Today I need to change, for me, for everyone, for this I’ve taken the decision,” the former France captain added.
The Frenchman took over a divided dressing room after the sacking of Rafael Benitez in January 2016, and immediately set about uniting the squad.
He claimed the first of his hat-trick of European triumphs two years ago when Real Madrid defeated local rivals Atletico Madrid on penalty kicks in the final.
A year later he led Real Madrid to their first European Cup and La Liga double in 59 years.
Real Madrid finished three points ahead of FC Barcelona as they won their first league title since 2012, before crushing Juventus 4-1 in the UEFA Champions League final.
It helped them to become the first side to win the competition in its current format in back-to-back seasons.
The 45-year-old coach won nine major honours as Real Madrid coach.
Zidane’s crowning glory came last Saturday as he joined an elite group of managers, including Bob Paisley and Carlo Ancelotti, by lifting the European Cup for the third time as coach. (Reuters/NAN)