Zinedine Zidane has announced that he will step down as Real Madrid manager with immediate effect.
The Frenchman called a snap press conference at the Bernabéu on Thursday amid a flurry of speculation and delivered the shock news that he will not be at the helm of the three-times Champions League winners for the 2018-19 season.
Zidane led Madrid to a treble of European triumphs in Kiev last Saturday night, enshrining his side as the greatest of the modern era in Europe’s elite club competition and placing them in the same bracket as the Ajax and Bayern Munich sides that achieved the same remarkable feat in the 1970s.
Zidane leaves on a high but who will replace him?
In doing so, Zidane also became one of only three coaches to lift the European Cup / Champions League on three occasions, alongside Bob Paisley and Carlo Ancelotti, and the first in the history of the game to do so on three consecutive occasions.
Zidane’s departure leaves a genuine void at the club with the managerial market already pretty sewn up this summer. Unai Emery has taken the reins at Arsenal, Ancelotti has been installed as Napoli manager, Mauricio Pochettino has signed a new five-year contract at Tottenham, Jürgen Klopp is unlikely to leave Liverpool at this stage, Thomas Tuchel has gone to PSG and Maurizio Sarri is the clear favourite to relieve Antonio Conte at Stamford Bridge.
Zidane held a meeting with Real president Florentino Pérez on Wednesday that reportedly burned a fair bit of midnight oil and confirmed the worst fears of Real fans on Thursday.