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  • Writer's pictureThe Season Ticket

Football | Zidane bows out at the top

Gracias Zidane. — #CHAMP13NS 🏆⚽ (@realmadrid) May 31, 2018 The 2017/18 season - which has turned out to be Zidane's last - was a strange one for Real. Their league form was extremely patchy - particularly in the first half of the season - and it seemed that the life cycle of this all-conquering team was coming to an end. They were streets behind league leaders Barcelona - who almost finished the campaign unbeaten in La Liga - for the entire season, and struggled to find their best form. Real suffered a shock defeat to Leganes in the Copa del Rey, and would eventually finish third behind Barca and runners up Atletico in the league. They amassed just 76 points - their lowest league tally in 12 years - and ended the season 17 points behind Barcelona. The pressure was mounting on 'Zizou', who hinted his third season in charge might be his last. "It is very tiring, and more so at Real Madrid," the 45 year old said of management. "Clearly you can reach a point when a change is needed and that goes for everyone and not just the coach. It is not the moment right now but it will happen." Zidane's side finished second in their Champions League group behind Spurs, which resulted in what looked like a daunting draw against high-flying PSG. However, Madrid swatted the French club aside over two legs, booking a quarter-final against Juventus. Despite a huge second leg scare, Los Blancos overcame Juve on aggregate, before knocking Bayern Munich out in the last four. Madrid, looking to become the first team in history to win three Champions League titles in a row, met Liverpool in the final last Saturday. Two horrendous Lloris Karius errors and a Gareth Bale wonder goal later, Madrid had retained their crown with a 3-1 victory in Kiev. History was made, and Zidane decided to go out on a high. They say that when Alexander the Great was 33, he wept for there were no more worlds left to conquer. Zidane is 12 years older, but what is there left for him to conquer with Madrid? After 104 wins (in just 149 matches), and nine trophies, now is the perfect time to walk away. He averaged a trophy every 17 games as manager, and in less than three full seasons as Madrid manager, he has won more Champions Leagues than Sir Alex Ferguson, Bill Shankly, Pep Guardiola, and Jose Mourinho. His overall goal difference is 233, and he walks away with a win percentage of close to 70%. The former Ballon D'Or winner's managerial legacy is assured. "I have taken the decision to not continue going into the next season," Zidane announced at today's press conference. “For me and for everybody, I think the moment to change has arrived. It was not an easy decision. “It is a strange moment to do so, I know, but an important one too. I had to do this for everyone. "This side should carry on winning and needs a change for this. After three years it needs another voice, another method of work, for this I took this decision. "We always want more from the players, and a moment comes when I cannot ask them for more. They need another voice, to return to winning again.” Zidane is likely to take a sabbatical, but he will have no shortage of suitors when/if he decides to return to management. He is the first manager to resign under the reign of Florentino Perez, who says that he wanted Zidane "next to him forever". Resolving the futures of Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo will be the task of Zidane's successor, who has big boots to fill in the Spanish capital.
As a player and coach you decided to say goodbye at the top. Thank you for two and a half incredible years. Your legacy will never be erased, one of the most successful chapters in the history of our beloved @realmadrid — Sergio Ramos (@SergioRamos) May 31, 2018
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