Copyright AP Photo/Bernat Armangue–
France legend Zinedine Zidane has quit as manager of Spanish giants Real Madrid, the club announced on Thursday.
“Real Madrid CF announces that Zinedine Zidane has decided to end his current stage as coach of our club,” read the statement.
“It is now time to respect his decision and show him our appreciation for his professionalism, dedication and passion in all these years, and for what his figure represents for Real Madrid.
“He knows that he is at the heart of Real Madrid and that Real Madrid is and will always be his home.”
No detail was given to explain the parting. His contract ran through June 2022.
Zidane, 48, first joined the club in 2010 as a special advisor. He then occupied a series of posts including assistant coach for the main team and coach for the B team until his appointment in January 2016 as the manager for the main team.
He announced his resignation in May 2018 but returned less than a year later after the club’s fortune dipped.
The Frenchman is the club’s most-decorated manager having helped the team to clinch 11 titles including three Champions League trophies, two UEFA Super Cups, as well as two La Liga and two Spanish Super Cup titles.
Forward Karim Benzema paid tribute to Zidane’s leadership on Twitter, writing: “Thank you brother, for everything you have given me.”
“I am proud and honoured to have been able to progress and grow alongside a man like you,” he added.
Defender Raphael Varane wrote in an Instagram post, that Zidane has been his “mentor” and that he had “helped me develop as a player and as a man”.
“I can’t thank you enough for all the advice you gave me, both on and off the field,” he added.
Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois also thanked Zidane “for what you taught me, for the confidence you have always had in me and for what we have won together”.
“It has been an honour to have a legend like you as my coach,” he wrote on Twitter.