Zinedine Zidane has finally explained why he decided to quit Real Madrid, and revealed what hurt him the most about his second spell in charge.
The 48-year-old Frenchman returned to Los Blancos only 10 months after walking away from the position in 2018, stabilising the ship and inspiring the team to a 2019/20 LaLiga title. Things, however, turned sour for the three-time UEFA Champions League-winning coach in this past campaign after reports in Spain began to suggest that his job was no longer safe despite all he had achieved at the club.
In an open letter to Real fans, Zidane has revealed he has stepped down because he feels president Florentino Perez has lost faith in him, saying leaked stories to the press hurt him.
"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," he wrote in an open letter to the club's supporters, according to AS.
"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.
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"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 from 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. Of course, I'm not the best coach in the world, but I'm able to give everyone, whether it's a player, a member of the coaching staff or any employee, the strength and confidence they need in their job.
"I know perfectly well what a team needs. Over these 20 years at Madrid I've learnt that you, the fans, want to win, of course, but above all you want us to give our all: the coach, the staff, the employees and of course the players. And I can assure you we've given 100% of ourselves to this club."