No one quits while at the top. That is why Bill Gates will do everything to crash his competition and make that extra dollar.
At least that is what we thought until the main man Zinedine ZIdane shocked the world on Thursday when he announced that he will be leaving Real Madrid, just 5 days after winning his 3rd consecutive UEFA champions League trophy after sweeping Liverpool away in Kiev.
Not a stranger to strange things this man. His entire footballing career both as a footballer and coach has been mired with record breaking feats, right from the brace he scored in the World Cup final in 1998 to hand France their first and only World Cup trophy in history.
Of course you can not mention Zidane as a player and fail to mention that wonder goal he scored against Bayer Leverkusen in the final of 2002, landing Real Madrid their record breaking 9th Champions League trophy – they were to wait for 12 more years to win it again.
When Benitez was sacked with less than a year into his contract at the Bernabeu, the world was quite optimistic with the news that a football legend with no concrete coaching history is to take over at Real.
But under the guidance of the French maestro, the Spanish giants went on to win the Champions League in each of the seasons he was in charge. He racked up 9 trophies in total, winning 104 games out of 149 – a win percentage of 69.8%.
So that is why everyone can’t help but ask why he had to resign at a time when his team looked to be on an all-time high.
“I love this club,” he said.
“What I think is that this team needs to continue winning but I think it needs a change, a different voice, another methodology. And that’s why I took this decision.” he said to an overly awed press room.
His decision was not abrupt though. In February he told reporters that he would walk away if he felt “there is nothing more to give”.
This makes sense since it is almost impossible to motivate an ageing team that has won everything there is to win at both club and international level.
6 of the players that started the Champions League final in Kiev for Real Madrid were 30 years and above while he named the exact starting line-up that beat Juventus in the final a year ago.
The decision therefore is focused entirely on his squad. Club President Perez sounded shocked and devastated by Zidane’s decision to quit during the press conference. He went on to say, “this was a totally unexpected decision. Zidane informed me of his choice yesterday.”
But this is was a carefully crafted facade of what exactly is happening at Madrid. Having broken 2 world records in the summer of 2009, bringing in a float of stars in Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka, Benzema and Xabi Alonso, spending in excess of €230m Euros, Real Madrid have spent only €103m Euros in the past 3 seasons.
This is kind of strange compared to €312m, €249m, €238m spent by rivals Barcelona, Man City and PSG in the summer of 2017.
It is now safe to say that the 2009 project initiated by club President Perez has come to and end. It is time for a new dawn at Real Madrid and this is what Zidane meant when he said that a new voice and methodology is needed at Madrid.
The most decorated club now needs to spend the big money again, perhaps Neymar, Hazard, Mbape among other rising stars in Europe in order to keep winning – or in other words, to keep up with their European rivals. And it is clear that Perez was not willing to hand that to Zidane.
So just as his untimely retirement on his career as a footballer, Zidane has left Madrid while he is on top. And we hope that this is not the last chapter in the book we have all come to love in the bald Algerian immigrant of France, in the name of Zinedine Zidane.