Next Real Madrid Manager: Pochettino the early favourite to replace Zidane

GETTYZinedine Zidane celebrates after the Champions League final

Zinedine Zidane steps down as Real Madrid manager, just 5 days after the UEFA Champions League triumph.

"I have taken the decision to not continue next year as Real Madrid coach. This team must keep winning, and it needs a change after three years, another voice, another method of working". Next year, Zidane became one of three managers, alongside Bob Paisley and Carlo Ancelotti, to win the European Cup three times when Real Madrid overcame the challenge from Liverpool 3-1 in the final. "The decision may not make a lot of sense to many, but it does to me".

The 45-year-old recently made history with Los Blancos by guiding them to a third consecutive Champions League title; in an era in which no other team had ever won back-to-back titles before. "Big players need a change".

"It could be a 'see you soon, ' because Madrid has given me everything and I'll be linked to this club my entire life", Zidane said.

Zidane was appointed as the Real Madrid manager in 2016, since he has been a successful manager, the records the titles speaks volumes for his contribution to the sport.

Club president Florentino Perez said Zidane's decision was "unexpected". I am grateful to the fans. I would have liked to convince him but I know how he is.

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"I don´t see myself continuing to win this year and I am a victor, I don´t like to lose", added Zidane, who was under contract with Real until 2020. He spoke of a decision made for the best of the club and made as a reaction to the exhaustion but he contradicted himself saying: 'I am not exhausted of coaching. I think it needs another direction'.

Barcelona, historically Real's greatest rivals, ran away with La Liga this season and finished 17 points clear of Zidane's side.

The France legend has bagged numerous prestigious awards and honours including the Fifa World Player of the Year three times, and Ballon D'Or once.

The Chelsea manager (for now, anyway) has never played or coached in Spain but has the kind of winner's mentality that is so important to Perez and Real Madrid.

Real will contact Tottenham in the coming days to open talks over signing of Pochettino.

At least as a coach, Zinedine Zidane is going out on top.

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