Spanish newspapers respond to Zinedine Zidane’s open letter to Real Madrid president Florentino Perez
For the past 20 years, since the first day I set my foot in the city of Madrid and put on the white shirt, I have felt your affection. I’ve always felt that there was something very special between us. I have had the great honor of being a player and coach of the most important club of all time, but first and foremost I am a Madridista like the rest of you. That is why I wanted to write you this letter to say goodbye to all of you and to explain my decision to step down as a coach.
When I accepted the offer in March 2019 to return to Real Madrid after eight months of rest, it was of course because Florentino Perez asked me to, but it was also because your fans asked me every day. Whenever I ran into a Real Madrid fan on the street, I felt the support and desire to see me back with the team. Because I share the values of Madridismo, this club owned by its members, its fans, everyone. I’ve tried to convey these values in everything I’ve done, I’ve always tried to be an example.
Spending 20 years at Real Madrid is the best thing that has happened in my life and I owe everything solely to Florentino Perez, who bet on me in 2001, who fought for me, to bring me to the club when certain people they were against. I say this from the bottom of my heart, I will always be grateful to the president for that. Always.
Now I have decided to leave and I wanted to explain my reasons well to you.
I’m leaving, but I’m not leaving the ship and I’m not tired of coaching.
In May 2018 I left because after two and a half years of so many wins and trophies I felt the team needed a new plan to stay at the top level. Today things are different.
I am leaving because I feel that the club did not give me the support I needed, it did not provide me with the support to set up a medium or long term project.
I understand football and know the demands of a club like Real Madrid, I know if you don’t win things you have to leave. But here they have forgotten something very important, they have forgotten everything that we have built every day, everything that I have contributed to the relationship with the players, with the 150 people who work with and around the team.
I’m a natural winner and I was here to win trophies, but beyond that you have people, emotions and life and I got the impression that these things were not appreciated, and people forgot that that’s how you maintain the dynamics of a great club. I even felt like I was being blamed in some way.
I want people to respect what everyone has achieved together. I would have liked my relationship with the club and the president to have been a little different from other coaches over the past few months. I didn’t ask for privileges, of course not, just to give people a better memory.
Today the life span of a coach at a big club is about two years, not much more. To last longer, human relationships are essential, they are more important than money, more important than reputation, more important than anything. You have to take care of them. That’s why it hurt so much when I read in the press, after one defeat, that I would be fired if I didn’t win the next game. It hurt me and my whole team because these messages, which were deliberately leaked to the media, caused negative feelings in the team, caused doubts and misunderstandings.
At least I had some great guys who would stay with me until death. When things went bad, they saved me with big wins. Because they believed in me and they knew I believed in them. Of course I’m not the best coach in the world, but I’m able to give everyone the strength and confidence they need at work, be it players or coaching staff or any employee. I know very well what a team needs. In the 20 or so years I’ve spent at Real Madrid, I’ve learned that you, the fans, naturally want to win. But above all you want us, the coach, the staff, the workers and of course the football players, to give everything. And I can assure you that we gave 100% of ourselves for the club.
With this letter I also want to send a message to the journalists. I’ve given hundreds of press conferences and unfortunately we talked very little about football and I know you love football too, this sport that unites us all. However, without wishing to criticize or teach you, I would have liked it if your questions had not always focused on controversy, I would have liked us to have talked more about the ball and especially about the players, who are the most important in this game. Let’s not forget football, let’s take care of football.
Dear Madridistas, I will always be one of you.