Zinédine Zidane has announced that he is stepping aside as coach of Real Madrid a matter of days after steering the club to an unprecedented third successive UEFA Champions League success.

“I think it’s the moment, both for me, the team and the club [to step down],” he said at an impromptu press conference at the club’s training ground. “It’s a strange moment to do so, I know, but an important one too. I had to do this for everyone.”

Zidane’s place among the greats

Hired in January 2016 following a spell in charge of Real Madrid’s B-team. Zidane became the first coach to win the European Cup in three successive seasons as Real Madrid beat Liverpool 3-1 in this season’s UEFA Champions League final in Kyiv, and joined Carlo Ancelotti as the only coach to have won the competition three times in the UEFA Champions League era.


Zidane: ‘We’re writing history’

Before his latest victory, the 45-year-old was already the only coach to have claimed back-to-back UEFA Champions League titles – and the first to have won consecutive editions of Europe’s top club competition since Arrigo Sacchi doubled up with AC Milan in 1989 and 1990.

Most UEFA Champions League final wins
3= Carlo Ancelotti (AC Milan 2003, 2007, Real Madrid 2014)
3= Zinédine Zidane (Real Madrid 2016, 2017, 2018)

Bob Paisley also won three European Cups, in 1977, 1978 and 1981.

Most successive UEFA Champions League final wins
3= Zinédine Zidane (Real Madrid 2016, 2017, 2018)

Highlights: Real Madrid 3-1 Liverpool


Highlights: Real Madrid 3-1 Liverpool

Most successive European Cup final wins
3= Zinédine Zidane (Real Madrid 2016, 2017, 2018)
2=
Luis Carniglia (Real Madrid 1958, 1959)
2= Brian Clough (Nottingham Forest 1979, 1980)
2= Béla Guttman (Benfica 1961, 1962)
2= Helenio Herrera (Inter Milan 1964, 1965)
2= Ștefan Kovács (Ajax 1972, 1973)
2= Dettmar Kramer (Bayern München 1975, 1976)
2= Bob Paisley (Liverpool 1977, 1978)
2= Arrigo Sacchi (AC Milan 1989, 1990)
2= José Villalonga (Real Madrid 1956, 1957)

European win ratio

2017 final highlights: Madrid 4-1 Juventus


2017 final highlights: Madrid 4-1 Juventus

Of the coaches that have a comparable level of European experience, only Jupp Heynckes (by the narrowest of margins) can better Zidane’s 69% win ratio in European competition (24 wins in 35 UEFA club competition games). By comparison, Josep Guardiola – perhaps the most lauded coach of his generation – has won only 60% of his 106 games as boss of Barcelona, Bayern München and Manchester City.

Overall record at Madrid

Played: 149
Wins: 104
Draws: 29
Defeats: 16
Win percentage: 69.79%

Honours

Zidane with the trophy in Kyiv


Zidane with the trophy in Kyiv©AFP/Getty Images

UEFA Champions League: 3 (2016, 2017, 2018)
UEFA Super Cup: 2 (2016, 2017)
Liga: 1 (2017)
FIFA Club World Cup: 2 (2016, 2017)
Spanish Super Cup: 1 (2017)

Reporter’s view: Joe Walker, Madrid

What a ride it has been; when Zidane took over Madrid were lacking direction. If you’d have said to me the day he took charge in January 2016 that he would go on to win three consecutive UEFA Champions League crowns, I would not have believed you.

Yet, despite this being his first senior job in management, the 45-year-old has had unprecedented success. He has shown himself to be a canny operator and a wily tactician, possessing skills that many coaches need decades to acquire. He has shown he is flexible, able to maintain harmony and, above all, that he is a winner. Chapeau et bonne chance, Zizou.

Joe Walker has covered all three of Zidane’s UEFA Champions League-winning campaigns for UEFA.com.

Zidane’s parting words

Watch THAT Zidane volley again and again


Watch THAT Zidane volley again and again

“After three years, it’s my decision and perhaps I can get it wrong, but I think that after such time it is the moment. If I don’t see that I think we’re going to carry on winning, if I don’t see things as I want them to be, a moment arrives where you say it’s better to change.”

Best memory? “That’ll be when the president brought me here, gave me chance to play at this club. It’s a player’s dream. I’ve lived it, and I’ve spoken to lots of players and it’s their dream to play here at Madrid. The best thing was when the president brought me to play here. As a coach, well, there are a lot of things, like winning the Champions League. If there’s one as a coach it is winning La Liga; for me, winning La Liga was the max.”

“This side should carry on winning and needs a change for this. After three years it needs another voice, another method of work. I love this club a lot.”

His former players’ reaction


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