Zidane’s Madrid exit is surprising: Rafael Nadal

Johannesburg: World number one Rafael Nadal has paid tribute to Zinedine Zidane, who shocked the football world recently by stepping down as Real Madrid manager just few days after guiding the club to their third Champions League title.

Speaking following his second-round win over Argentina’s Guido Pella in the ongoing French Open, Nadal reflected his views on Zidane’s exit, saying that the Frenchman’s decision do come as a surprise to him, like everyone else.

Nadal said that though it is quite difficult to see such top manager leaving the club, he deserves to choose what is correct for him.

“Of course it was a surprise for everybody, no. But at the same time, Zidane is a top person. He’s a person that it is tough to accept that he’s leaving. He has always been positive and believing in the players and on the club. He deserves to choose what’s better for him,” Sport24 quoted Nadal, as saying.

Nadal, who registered a comfortable 6-2, 6-1, 6-1 win over Pella in the second round, will now take on French player Richard Gasquet for a place in pre-quarterfinals at Roland Garros.

On a related note, Zidane’s resignation came just five days after Real Madrid clinched a 3-1 win over Liverpool in the high-octane Champions League final clash at the Olimpiyskiy National Sports Complex.

The victory in the final saw Zidane equal Bob Paisley and Carlo Ancelotti’s record of being the only coaches to have lifted the European Cup thrice.

Besides bagging three European titles, Zidane had also guided the Spanish club to one La Liga glory since taking over as the Real manager only in January 2016.