MADRID: Zinedine Zidane has resigned as Real Madrid coach after the record 13-times European champions failed to win a trophy this season and were pipped to the La Liga title by city rivals Atletico Madrid.
Real said in a statement that they “must now respect” Zidane’s decision. They thanked Zidane, 48, for his “professionalism, dedication and passion over the years and what he means to Real Madrid”.
Antonio Conte, who has just quit new Italian champions Internazionale, is among the favourites to take over.
The former France forward, who played for Real from 2001 to 2006, won three consecutive Champions League titles and a La Liga title in his first period as manager between 2016 and 2018.
He left in May 2018, but returned 10 months later and secured a second La Liga title last season.
A statement said: “Zidane is one of Real Madrid’s great icons and his legacy extends beyond what he has achieved as a coach and player at our club.
“He is aware that he has a place in the hearts of the Real Madrid fans and that he will always have a home at Real Madrid.”
Real finished two points behind Atletico in La Liga as they failed to win a trophy for the first time since 2009-10.
They suffered an early exit from the Copa del Rey at the hands of third division side Alcoyano and lost to Chelsea in the Champions League semi-finals.
Earlier this month, Zidane, who had a year left on his contract, denied reports that he had informed his squad he would leave at the end of the season.
His future was a constant topic of discussion in the Spanish press this season, contributing to several spiky exchanges, with Zidane saying he and his players deserved more respect.
He is the only manager to win the Champions League three times, and his trophy haul at Real also included two Club World Cups, two Uefa Super Cups and two Spanish Super Cups.
It has been a very tiring season for everyone but, on top of that, Zidane feels that, even though he had the backing of the squad, he has not always felt the backing of the board, which basically means Real Madrid president Florentino Perez.
They have a very fluid relationship but, just before a Champions League game against Borussia Monchengladbach, the club leaked that being knocked out of the competition could mean Zidane being sacked.
Instead, Real beat Sevilla, Borussia Monchengladbach and Atletico Madrid.