Zinedine Zidane stepped down from his post as Real Madrid manager last week, which was announced via an official statement from the club. While the announcement made it sound as if the club wanted him to stay but had to "respect his decison" to leave, Zidane has now revealed otherwise.

In an open letter shared in full by Spanish publication AS, Zidane said: "I've had the enormous honour of being a player and the coach of the greatest club ever, but above all I'm just another Madrid fan. For all these reasons I wanted to write this letter, to say goodbye to you and explain my decision to leave the coaching job."

He then revealed that he returned to the managerial position in March 2019 because club president Florentino Perez and the club's fans had been asking him to do so after he first left at the end of the 2017/18 season. "When I met any of you in the street I felt your support and the desire to see me with the team again," he said.

He expressed his gratitude to Perez, and to the fans, and said that he feels the need to "properly explain the reasons" for his latest exit.

"I'm leaving because I feel the club no longer has the faith in me I need, nor the support to build something in the medium or long term. 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. But with this a very important thing has been forgotten, everything I built day-to-day has been forgotten, what I brought to my relationships with the players, with the 150 people who work with and around the team. I'm a natural-born winner and I was here to win trophies, but even more important than this are the people, their feelings, life itself and I have the sensation these things have not been taken into account, that there has been a failure to understand that these things also keep the dynamics of a great club going. To some extent I have even been rebuked for it."

The Frenchman then pointed out that he would have wanted to receive more respect for what he and the club have achieved together. It appears that a season devoid of silverware has put him in much the same position as any other coach that was ever on the Real Madrid bench.

"I would have liked my relationship with the club and the president over the past few months to have been a little different to that of other coaches. I wasn't asking for privileges, of course not, just a little more recollection," he said.

He emphasised that a long and fruitful relationship between a manager and a club needs to be nurtured, and the human side of it must be given importance. "That's why it hurt me so much when I read in the press, after a defeat, that I would be sacked if I didn't win the next game."

He then went on to suggest that the club may have been the source of reports stating that he was facing the sack whenever the team produced bad results. "It hurt me and the whole team because these deliberately leaked messages to the media negatively influenced the squad, they created doubts and misunderstandings," he said.

However, he clarified that the players themselves were always behind him 100%. "Luckily I had these amazing lads who were with me to the death. When things turned ugly they saved me with magnificent victories. Because they believed in me and knew I believed in them," he said.

Zidane then pointed out that everyone must not forget that he shares the same goal as the players and fans, which is to win. He then ended his letter by asking journalists to focus more on what's important and to speak less about controversies.

"I would have liked the questions not to have always been about controversy, that we might have talked more often about the game and above all the players, who are and always will be the most important thing in this sport. Let's not forget about football, let's care for it." he said.

Zinedine Zidane
Zinedine Zidane leaves Real Madrid after failing to win a trophy this season AFP / Glyn KIRK