Zinedine Zidane has resigned as Real Madrid manager with immediate effect, the Spanish club said Thursday just days after they were beaten to the La Liga title by Atletico Madrid.
The Frenchman’s departure comes at the end of a disappointing campaign for the 13-time European champions, who also lost to Chelsea in the Champions League semi-finals, as they failed to win a trophy for the first time in 11 seasons.
“We must now respect his decision and express our gratitude for his professionalism, dedication and passion over the years and what he means to Real Madrid,” a club 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.”
Zidane has a history of making surprise announcements: as a player, he initially announced his retirement from international football in 2004 before coming back for the 2006 World Cup, after which he retired for good.
He may now take another break from football although there has been talk of him either taking charge of the French national team or taking the helm at Juventus, where he spent five years as a player.
Real Madrid needs to learn how to respect Legends! https://t.co/lOECucv97u
— Nipun Mudgal (@nipun_mudgal) May 27, 2021
Top candidates to replace Zinedine Zidane at Real Madrid
Massimiliano Allegri: An incredibly successful name in European football, Allegri had quit as the manager of Juventus in 2019 having struggled to earn the Italian giants a UEFA Champions League title despite having been in charge for 5 years.
Allegri has since been linked with a number of jobs in European football including clubs like Arsenal, Chelsea, and even PSG. The Italian, however, continued to remain on a sabbatical but is likely to find it hard to turn down an offer from Real Madrid.
Antonio Conte: The latest entrant in the race, Conte has won league titles at Juventus, Chelsea and most recently at Inter Milan. After guiding Inter to the club’s first Serie A title in 10 years, the Italian is said to have quit due to financial restrictions at the club.
With Real Madrid being a much wealthier side than Inter, Conte’s transfer plans could materialise with the Spanish giants who are in desperate need of reinforcements too.
Only acceptable replacement to Zidane in my book pic.twitter.com/IwFEEVs5x4
— Harshit (@_harshitsaxena) May 27, 2021
Raul: The Real Madrid legend is also a top candidate for the post. Raul has been coaching Real Madrid’s junior side, Castilla. He knows the club inside out and is also a huge brand ambassador. Raul could be looked at as an option by the Real Madrid management and promotion within could be good for the structure of the club.
Raul’s success at Castilla has invited interest from some other top-division clubs across Europe too. If not given a chance at Real Madrid, he could go on to fetch another coaching job soon.
Joachim Löw: The German manager, who led the national team to the World Cup title in 2014, will step down as the head coach after the completion of Euro 2020.
Löw has had his critics of late over the treatment of certain veteran German players but he still remains a big name in the coaching spectrum.
The 61-year-old was also linked with the Real Madrid job after Zidane had first quit but he continued to stay put with the Germany national team. With Löw set to become a free agent after Euros, the Real Madrid move could be on the cards.