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McManaman hints Zidane quit Real Madrid because he sensed Ronaldo was leaving

13:47 GMT+4 04/04/2019
Cristiano Ronaldo and Zinedine Zidane
The ex-Blancos midfielder suggests an awareness that no replacement would be drafted in for the Portuguese superstar led to the Frenchman's exit

Zinedine Zidane may have sensed that Real Madrid didn't plan to replace Cristiano Ronaldo, leading to his own departure from the club in the summer of 2018.

An iconic French coach stunned world football when announcing that he would be vacating his post on the back of a third successive Champions League triumph.

That decision was followed later in the summer by the revelation that five-time Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldo would also be leaving in a big-money deal with Juventus.

Madrid have struggled to recover from those hefty blows, with Zidane returning to the Santiago Bernabeu as their third manager of a tumultuous 2018-19 campaign.

His return after less than a year caused as much surprise as his initial departure, with there a sizeable rebuilding project to oversee in the Spanish capital.

That is expected to see the club spend big in the summer transfer window, with Madrid likely to improve their squad.

Former Blancos star McManaman told La Galerna on Zidane’s exit and the role Ronaldo played in it: “Surely he felt some interference.

“I do not know if he sensed that Cristiano was leaving and that he was not going to be replaced.

“If he guessed it, he probably did well to leave.

“Because it was clear that if you let someone who has given Cristiano's performance go, and do not bring anyone in to replace him, you will have problems, will you not?”

While questioning Madrid’s failure to find suitable cover for an iconic frontman, McManaman insists he remains a supporter of Florentino Perez’s methods.

The Madrid president is famed for his ‘Galacticos’ recruitment policy and is expected to deliver more good times after luring Zidane back for a second spell at the helm.

With it put to him that he may not be the biggest backer of Perez, a man who savoured two Liga title triumphs and two Champions League successes during his time in Spain added: “No, no, no, no. I'm very Florentino! Four Champions Leagues in five years, three of them in a row.

“Now he has brought Zizou back. How can I not be in favour of the man who makes these things possible?

“I just point to the reasons why this year has been so bad.

“Anyone could see the consequences of letting Cristiano go without seeking a replacement.

“But I have no problem with Florentino. I always greet him when I go there. Florentino is a successful man, as are all his close associates of the club.”