Zidane blows up after internal criticism over Chelsea defeat

Hours after the Champions League semi-final at Stamford Bridge, the French coach was made aware of strong criticism of his approach from within the club itself.


Zinedine Zidane had been thinking about his possible departure for some time, despite having a contract with Real Madrid until 2022.

Since January, he had been disenchanted with the criticism from the media… and from within the club, who had been leaking names of possible candidates in case Zizou did not stay on after the 2-1 defeat in the Copa del Rey against lowly Alcoyano and the 2-1 league fiasco against Levante at Valdebebas.

It was a result that left them ten points behind Atlético, a gap that, at the time, seemed insurmountable.

Zidane's club critics spurred early departure

Although it is true that those at the top of the club maintained that they would never touch Zidane, the Marseille man’s pride was already wounded. The Frenchman tested positive for covid and spent ten days reflecting before giving a pre-match press conference in Huesca that shook the foundations of the Di Stéfano: "This squad deserves respect. All I ask is that they let us do our job. This team won the league just a few months ago....".

Time passed, the team bounced back in spectacular fashion, in both the Champions League (with a great tie against Liverpool) and in LaLiga against their title rivals (a draw at the Wanda and victory over Barça at Valdebebas), making it clear that he had not yet has his last word from the dugout.

Then came the semi-final with Chelsea and especially that second leg in London. Zizou fielded three players - Ramos, Mendy and Hazard - who were concerns physically. The elimination led to a collective frustration among the fans, which was backed up by criticism in the media for his approach, but also privately from the club itself. That was the straw that broke the camel's back.

As reported by Spanish football show Jugones, at the behest of the Frenchman, he met in person with club president Florentino Pérez on Wednesday evening, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Pérez wanted to convince him to stay, but Zidane's mind had already been made up, no matter what happened in the conclusion of the league championship: "I'm leaving.” According to Jugones, Zinedine's biggest frustration that led him to this decision was based on "not feeling supported by the club.”

Zidane has had enough

AS has since been able to confirm this information and we can provide one further piece of information. Hours after the match at Stamford Bridge, Zidane was made aware of the strong criticism of his approach from within the club itself, and it was this that led him to tell some of those close to him, ”I’ve had enough of this.”

To prevent the players from giving up, his decision to quit at the end of the season was known only to his family and the most trusted members of his coaching staff. Those in charge of the club could sense it, but it was not until Wednesday afternoon that they had first-hand knowledge of his definitive departure.

Zidane still feels the affection of the fans, but believes that the club did not come to his defence or protect him when things have gone wrong, especially after the Champions League exit. That was the beginning of Zidane's second hasty departure. History repeats itself...