Zinedine Zidane has accused Real Madrid president Florentino Perez of a lack of respect in his final season in charge, while claiming "I’m leaving because I feel the club no longer has the faith in me I need".
Zidane has delivered three Champions League crowns and two La Liga titles across two separate spells at Santiago Bernabeu, but decided to resign for the second time following the club's first trophyless campaign since 2009-10.
The Frenchman has now come out to explain the main reasons behind his departure while opening up on his fractious relationship with Perez, who he has criticised for failing to support him during Real's worst run of form last season.
What's been said?
Spanish publication AS have published Zidane's open letter to supporters, which reads: "Dear Real Madrid fans, for more than 20 years, from the first day I arrived in Madrid and wore the white shirt, you’ve shown me your love. I wanted to write this letter, to say goodbye to you and explain my decision to leave the coaching job.
"I’m going, but I’m not jumping overboard, nor am I tired of coaching. 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. I’m leaving because 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.
"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. But with this a very important thing has been forgotten, everything I built day-to-day has been forgotten, what I brought to my relationships with the players, with the 150 people who work with and around the team.
"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, that 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.
"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. 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.
"That’s why it hurt me so much when I read in the press, after a defeat, that I would be sacked if I didn’t win the next game. It hurt me and the whole team because these deliberately leaked messages to the media negatively influenced the squad, they created doubts and misunderstandings.
"Luckily I had these amazing lads who were with me to the death. When things turned ugly they saved me with magnificent victories. Because they believed in me and knew I believed in them."
Zidane's parting shot to the media
Zidane went on to directly address the reporters that had attempted to stir up controversy at the club throughout the 2020-21 campaign, calling for the media to do more to preserve the sanctity of the game and protect the players.
"I’d like to take this opportunity to send a message to the journalists," he added. "I’ve given hundreds of press conferences and unfortunately we have spoken very little of football, though I know that you love football, this sport that brings us together.
"However, and without any desire to criticize or lecture, I would have liked the questions not to have always been about controversy, that we might have talked more often about the game and above all the players, who are and always will be the most important thing in this sport. Let’s not forget about football, let’s care for it."
Who has been touted to succeed Zidane at Real?
Goal has learned that Paris Saint-Germain boss Mauricio Pochettino is at the top of Real's list of candidates in their search for a new manager.
The Argentine has informed PSG of his desire to leave, but it is unclear whether he has his eye on the top job at the Bernabeu, with a potential return to Tottenham also being mooted.
Real are also thought to be interested in outgoing Inter boss Antonio Conte, while academy head coach Raul is also in the frame to replace Zidane.
By James Westwood
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