Zidane: I would've liked my relationship with Real Madrid and Perez to have been different

By Sports Desk May 30, 2021

Zinedine Zidane said he would have liked his relationship with Real Madrid and president Florentino Perez to have been a "little different" following his Los Blancos exit.

Zidane led Madrid to the 2019-20 LaLiga title in his second spell in charge, but the Frenchman elected to move on after the club's runners-up finish behind city rivals Atletico Madrid in 2020-21.

In his first spell, from January 2016 to May 2018, Zidane delivered three successive Champions League triumphs and one LaLiga title.

Drawn back to the club in March 2019, his second tenure did not prove quite as successful, although he led Madrid to LaLiga success in the 2019-20 season.

Zidane departed after a barren campaign on the trophy front, however, with Madrid losing early to minnows Alcoyano in the Copa del Rey, edged out by Chelsea in the Champions League semi-finals, and pipped to back-to-back LaLiga trophies by Atletico.

The 48-year-old – who was linked with former club Juventus before Massimiliano Allegri's return – is lifting the lid on his Madrid exit in an open letter set to be published in full on Monday.

"I understand football and I know the demands of a club like Real Madrid. I know when you don't win, you have to leave," Zidane said in a preview of the letter via Diario AS.

"I'm not jumping overboard, nor am I tired of coaching. I would have liked my relationship with the club and the president over the past few months to have been a little different."

Zidane had 263 games in charge in all competitions across his two tenures in Madrid, winning 65.4 per cent of them.

He achieved a points-per-game ratio of 2.17, an average that sits behind both Rafael Benitez (2.21) and Manuel Pellegrini (2.35).

In comparison to the notable head coaches who reached a century of matches, both Mourinho (2.31) and Carlo Ancelotti (2.36) exceeded Zidane in terms of points per game. Leo Beenhakker – who won three successive titles in the late 1980s – however, managed 2.11 during his reign.

"Being at Madrid for 20 years is the most beautiful thing that's happened to me in my life and I know I owe that entirely to Florentino Perez," Zidane added.

Zidane's second spell lowered his overall points-per-game average, as he won 68 out of 114 matches upon his return – a notable drop-off when compared to his time between January 2016 and the end of the 2017-18 season, when he rattled along at 2.29 points per outing.

His win percentage in LaLiga in his initial spell was 70.8. After returning to replace Santiago Solari in March 2019, that 87-game span produced 188 points, three more than rivals Barcelona managed – though both won the same number of games (56) – and it puts Madrid 12 points ahead of newly crowned champions Atleti.

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