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Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Zidane accuses club president Perez of lacking respect

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Zinedine Zidane has fired back at Real Madrid less than a week after resigning from the club.

The French coach left the top job at the Santiago Bernabeu for the second time in three years when he decided to step down last Thursday, days after the club ended the season without a trophy for the first time in 11 years.

He had stayed silent on social media and in the media since leaving but he has come out swinging in an open letter to fans published in newspaper AS.

‘I’m leaving but I’m not abandoning the ship and I’m not tired of coaching,’ he wrote.

‘In May 2018 I left because after two and a half years of so many victories and trophies I felt the team needed a new plan to stay at the highest level. Today things are different.

‘I’m leaving because I feel that the club didn’t give me the support I needed, it didn’t offer me the support to construct a project for the medium or long term.’

Zidane leaves Real for the second time as one of their greatest ever coaches, winning an unprecedented three consecutive Champions Leagues between 2016 and 2018 plus the 2019 LaLiga title and two FIFA Club World Cups.

The Frenchman restored Real to the greatest heights after a poor spell under Rafael Benitez and they were in even greater disarray after his shock resignation in May 2018, days after his side had beaten Liverpool 3-1 in the Champions League final in Kiev.

Julen Lopetegui was sacked in October after his sensational departure from the Spain team on the eve of the 2018 World Cup and successor Santiago Solari did not last long either, being moved on the following March.

Faced with another crisis, Real again turned to the smiling Frenchman, who got off to a slow start and was close to being booted out after a humiliating 3-0 defeat to Paris Saint-Germain.

But he turned things around and proved himself as a top man-manager after the three month break due to the coronavirus pandemic, overseeing Real’s surge to the LaLiga title by winning 10 games in a row to overhaul leaders Barcelona.

But Zidane felt he was not given the tools he needed to consolidate that success and build for the future.

And he felt the hard work he had done in building a rapport with the players was not being properly appreciated.

‘I understand football and know the demands of a club like Real Madrid, I know that when you don’t win things you have to leave. But here they have forgotten something very important, they have forgotten everything we built each day, everything I contributed to the relationship with the players, with the 150 people who work with and around the team,’ he added.

‘I’m a natural winner and I was here to win trophies but beyond that you have human beings, emotions and life and I got the impression that these things were not being appreciated, and people forgot that’s how you maintain the dynamic of a great club. I even felt in a certain way that I was being reproached.’

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