Zinedine Zidane Rips Real Madrid for Lack of Faith, Leaked Messages to Media

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVMay 31, 2021

MADRID, SPAIN - MAY 22: Zinedine Zidane head Coach of Real Madrid reacts during the La Liga Santander match between Real Madrid and Villarreal CF at Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano on May 22, 2021 in Madrid, Spain. Sporting stadiums around Spain remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors (Photo by Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Former Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane, who resigned from the post last week, wrote in an open letter to Diario AS (h/t Alex Kirkland and Rodrigo Faez of ESPN) that he was leaving Los Blancos "because I feel the club is no longer giving me the trust I need, it isn't offering me the support to build something medium-to-long term."

He added that he felt the club's hierarchy was leaking negative news stories to the media.

"That's why it hurt me a lot when I read in the press, after a defeat, that they were going to sack me if I didn't win the next game," he wrote. "It hurt me and the whole team because these messages, intentionally leaked to the media, created negative interference with the staff. They created doubts and misunderstandings."

While Zidane praised his players at Real Madrid—he called them "fantastic lads who were with me to the end... when things got ugly, they saved me with great victories"—he added that he would have "liked my relationship with the club and the president in recent months to have been a little different from that of other coaches."

While he said he wasn't seeking preferential treatment, he noted that for a partnership to last in modern football between a manager and a club beyond a season or two, "human relationships are essential."

Dermot Corrigan @dermotmcorrigan

“Coming out angry in (February’s) press conference, and pointing to all he and his team have achieved, is not something he often does," says a source. "But he was tired of listening to what was being said, and maybe the club has different priorities than he does."

Zidane, 48, has had two separate spells as Real Madrid's manager since 2016, topping La Liga once and the Champions League an impressive three times in his first stint before leaving in 2018. Upon his return in March 2019, he led Los Blancos to another domestic title in the 2019-20 campaign. 

The 2020-21 season ended in disappointment, however, as Real Madrid finished second in La Liga behind champions Atletico Madrid, lost in the Champions League semifinals to eventual victors Chelsea and was eliminated in the Copa del Rey round of 32 by third-division side Alcoyano.

"Zidane is one of Real Madrid's all-time greats, and his legend goes beyond what he has done as a coach and player for our club," Real Madrid said in a statement after Zidane announced his resignation last week (via Reuters). "He knows that he is always in the heart of the club's supporters and that Real Madrid will always be his home."