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SPORTS

Zidane says Real's lack of faith led to his departure

FOOTBALL By Reuters | May 31st 2021
July 10, 2020 Real Madrid's Karim Benzema with coach Zinedine Zidane after being substituted, as play resumes behind closed doors following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) [REUTERS]

Zinedine Zidane said on Monday he had stepped down as Real Madrid coach as the club's hierarchy did not have enough faith in him to rebuild an ageing squad.

Zidane, who returned to Real for a second spell in charge in March 2019, won two La Liga titles and three Champions League crowns during his two stints as coach.

However, he stepped down last week after Real suffered their first trophyless season in 11 years, finishing second in La Liga, being knocked out of the Champions League semi-finals and suffering a humiliating Copa del Rey exit in the round of 32 to third division minnows Alcoyano.

In an open letter published in sports daily AS, Zidane said the first time he left as coach in 2018 was because he felt the team needed a new approach to stay at the highest level after enjoying so much success.

"Right now, things are different," he said. "I’m leaving because I feel the club no longer has the faith in me I need, nor the support to build something in the medium or long term."

Zidane also suggested that his relationship with the club president had changed in recent weeks, and hit out at the series of leaks and stories about his future coming from within Real.

"I would have liked my relationship with the club and the president over the past few months to have been a little different to that of other coaches," he added.

"I wasn’t asking for privileges, of course not, just a little more recollection.

"It hurt me so much when I read in the press, after a defeat, that I would be sacked if I didn’t win the next game.

"It hurt me and the whole team because these deliberately leaked messages to the media negatively influenced the squad, they created doubts and misunderstandings."

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