By Markson Omagor
Zinedine Zidane has resigned as manager of Real Madrid with immediate effect.
Doubts over his future had been growing after Madrid were pipped to the LaLiga title last weekend by rivals Atletico Madrid.
Sportsmail reported earlier this month that Zidane would walk away from the club regardless of whether they secured the title after Zidane sensed for some time that he did not have the backing of Florentino Perez.
Spanish publication AS report Zidane has already informed both the club’s directors and the first team squad that he has left the club, with an official statement from both the club and manager expected in the coming hours.
The Frenchman had been in charge of in two spells since 2016, and has won three Champions Leagues in the Spanish capital.
He also guided Madrid to the LaLiga title last season but they were unable to repeat the feat this time around in a trophy-less campaign after struggling with injuries and an ageing squad.
They lost in the Champions League semi-final against Chelsea and were also dumped out of the Copa del Rey in the round of 32 at the hands of lowly Alcoyano.
Zidane is expected to be an immediate target for Juventus or the France national team following his departure from the Bernabeu.
Club legend Raul has been seen by supporters as the long-term successor to Zidane, but Perez is thought to prefer former Juve boss Max Allegri should he be available.
Antonio Conte’s name has also been mentioned as a replacement after the Italian resigned as manager of Inter Milan on Wednesday.
The recent Serie A winner was linked with the vacant post in 2018 after Julen Lopetegui was sacked and could be in Perez’s mind as an option this time.
Following Madrid’s 2-1 defeat by Villarreal last week which saw them miss out on the title on the final day, Zidane said: ‘We have to congratulate Atletico Madrid. They deserve it, they had a great season.
‘I’m not the most important thing here. The most important thing is what the players did all year. We have to think about what we did all season, congratulate the players, and then with time, with calm, we’ll see.