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Zinedine Zidane resigns as manager of Real Madrid

Zidane had a contract through June 2022

Zidane not in frame for France job, says Deschamps [File] Zinedine Zidane | Reuters

Zinedine Zidane resigned as manager of Real Madrid, the Spanish club announced on Thursday.

"Real Madrid announces that Zinedine Zidane has decided to bring to an end his current spell as coach of our club," Real Madrid said in a statement. "It's time now to respect his decision and show our appreciation for his professionalism, dedication and passion for all these years, and for what he represents for Real Madrid. He knows that Real Madrid is and always will be his home."

Zidane had a contract through June 2022.

The 48-year-old led Real Madrid to the 2017 La Liga title and three Champions League crowns from 2016-18. The World Cup-winning former France international left the club for the first time after leading Madrid to one of its most successful runs from 2016-2018. In his two years and five months in charge, Madrid won a total of nine trophies, including two Club World Cups, two UEFA Super Cups, one Spanish league and one Spanish Super Cup.

He only won the league title once and a Spanish Super Cup in his second stint.

He quit the first time less than a week after leading the team to its third straight Champions League title, saying it was time for a change and that he didn't see it clearly that the club would keep winning with him in charge.

Zidane had been dismissing talks about his future recently, saying that he would discuss it with the club. He said he believed that Madrid could do well without him as coach.

Zidane's second stint as coach began in March 2019, less than a year after he left for the first time. The team was in crisis after a disastrous season that included losses to rival Barcelona and elimination to Ajax in the round of 16 of the Champions League.

But his second run ended with Madrid enduring its least successful season since 2009-10, which was the last time it didn't win a title.

Madrid fought for the Spanish league title until the final round but finished two points behind city rival Atlético Madrid, failing to defend its title and lift back-to-back league trophies for the first time since 2007-08.

In the Champions League, Zidane led the team to the semifinals, eventually eliminated by Chelsea. In the Copa del Rey, Madrid lost to third-division club Alcoyano in the round of 32.

Zidane had to deal with a series of setbacks in his squad because of injuries. It was without captain Sergio Ramos for nearly the entire second half of the season, and he also couldn't count much on Eden Hazard. Other key players who were not available for extended periods included Dani Carvajal, Lucas Vázquez and Marco Asensio.

Zidane struggled to put together a consistent starting lineup, and he often tried to switch schemes between matches. A move to a 3-5-2 formation worked well in some games but failed miserably in others, giving him little confidence to set up his teams.

In addition to Zidane's departure, there's also doubt about whether Ramos will return, and major signings are not likely as the club continues to struggle financially amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Zidane previously spent five years with Real Madrid as a player. Massimiliano Allegri and club legend Raul are, reportedly, being considered as replacements for the head coaching position.

(With PTI inputs)

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