The rumours were bang on. Zinedine Zidane has resigned as Real Madrid manager less than a week after winning his third consecutive Champions League title.
Zidane called a snap press conference on Thursday lunchtime, which set tongues a-wagging as to the precise nature of the announcement to follow.
It’s since been confirmed that the Frenchman has stepped down as Los Blancos boss, with the man himself telling the assembled media:
I love this club and the president who gave me the chance to play for this club and manage the club of my dreams. But everything changes and that’s why I’ve taken the decision to leave.
As such, Zidane becomes the very first manager to have worked under Florentino Perez to walk of his own accord, rather than be sacked.
In less than three complete seasons as a manager, Zizou has won three Champions Leagues, one La Liga title, one Spanish Super Cup, a couple of UEFA Super Cups and two FIFA Club World Cups.
In the process, he’s reached eight finals with Madrid and won them all, and all in the space of 149 games.
The bloke certainly knows how to leave the stage when the ovation is loudest. After all, there would be precious little that could prevent him from getting fired next year, save delivering a fourth-straight Champions League – and what are the odds on that?
There are truly no worlds left to conquer as far as Zidane is concerned. He’s accomplished it all, and at the very highest level.
Who could blame him for being preemptive, binning it all off and retiring age 45 to live out his days in a sun-dappled villa somewhere on the Riviera.