Zinedine Zidane stunned everyone in the world of football by stepping down as Real Madrid manager on Thursday, the announcement coming just five days after he took them to their third consecutive Champions League title with him at the helm. The Frenchman announced his decision in a press conference on Thursday, catching the world of football off-guard.
There was also a lot of intrigue after Zidane said: "I think it's the moment, both for me, the team and the club (to step down). It's a strange moment to do so, I know, but an important one too. I had to do this for everyone."
Here we answer some of the most pressing queries after Zidane's resignation:
Did the players or president Florentino Perez push him out?
No. When Zidane was asked on Thursday about whether his decision was influenced by players, who are known to wield wide-ranging influence at Real, he quashed all such talk by saying: "The players have nothing to do with my decision."
About the president Perez, a man known to be impulsive with managers and players alike, Zidane offered: "I love this club a lot, the president, who gave me everything — to play first at this great club. I'll always be thankful. Today I need to change, for me, for everyone, for this, I've taken the decision. Nothing is going to change in my relationship with the president (Florentino Perez), I know what he thinks and that is that."
What then led Zidane to quit despite a third Champions League title coming just five days ago?
It appears as if Zidane wanted to move on from the club on a high. He had been at the club just over two years, where he led them to three Champions League and a La Liga title. He said: "It's not as simple as just staying. I think it would be difficult to keep winning if I stayed.
"It's difficult to keep going with things the same (way), winning three Champions Leagues. I am a winner, I like winning and hate losing. If I have the feeling that I'm not going to win, I'm going to make a change. If I don't feel good because I'm not winning, I'll walk out. That's why I took this decision.
"When I took the decision that was it. There was no backward step.
"This side should carry on winning and needs a change for this. After three years it needs another voice, another method of work, for this I took this decision. It's my decision, it could be wrong."
Did the tiring nature of a football manager's job also play a role?
It does not seem as though Zidane was tired by the task of managing a high-profile club like Real Madrid. On being asked specifically if he was tired at the helm of the club, he said: "The job of coach has difficult parts! I have shared the transfers and telling players bad news with the president. It's a decision for the good of everyone. For me first, but for the squad too. The change is necessary to keep winning, I believe. There's nothing more than that."
But he also added: "I'm not tired of coaching after just three years of coaching. But I think this is the right moment for me to change."
Could Zidane come back and manage Real again someday?
The concept of forever does not exist in the dictionaries of football managers. Didn't Jose Mourinho return to Stamford Bridge despite leaving on fractious terms the first time around?
Zidane too left the door to him returning as the La Liga club's manager sometime in the future by saying: "It's not a beautiful day (for me) because it's complicated. I say that I'm not staying, but it's not a sad day for me. It's a 'hasta pronto' (see you soon) not a goodbye. This relationship isn't going to change, not for anything."
So, is Zidane just on a sabbatical or will he manage another club?
It appears he is.
Perez, who was also there at Thursday’s press conference, said: "This was a totally unexpected decision. Today marks a sad day for me and for everyone who works for Real. I tried to convince Zidane... One can't be prepared for something like this. The only thing I want to say is 'hasta pronto' because I know he will return, maybe after a rest."
Zidane himself left the topic on a cliff-hanger by saying: "What's coming now, I don't want to talk about it right now. I'm not going to coach another team as of now. I'm not looking for another team."
Your guide to the latest cricket World Cup stories, analysis, reports, opinions, live updates and scores on https://www.firstpost.com/firstcricket/series/icc-cricket-world-cup-2019.html. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram or like our Facebook page for updates throughout the ongoing event in England and Wales.
Updated Date: May 31, 2018 18:14:51 IST