Zidane's sudden exit stuns Madridistas Rossi and Nadal

A MotoGP star and tennis legend are among those to have been left saddened by the departure of an iconic coach at the Santiago Bernabeu

Zinedine Zidane's surprise resignation as Real Madrid boss even sent shockwaves through the worlds of motorsport and tennis, with MotoGP great Valentino Rossi and 16-time Grand Slam winner Rafael Nadal struggling to understand the Frenchman's decision.

Zidane announced his departure Thursday, less than a week after guiding Madrid to a third successive Champions League crown.

Madrid overcame Liverpool 3-1 in the Kiev showpiece, having finished third and 17 points adrift of champions Barcelona in La Liga.

The 45-year-old won nine trophies following his appointment in 2016 and seven-time MotoGP champion Rossi was among those surprised by Zidane's exit.

"It's a bit difficult to understand, although football and MotoGP are different," Italian rider Rossi said ahead of the Gran Premio d'Italia Oakley.

"He has won three Champions League titles, which is like winning three world championships in our case.

"If you win, the first thought is that you would want to continue with the same bike and the same team, but he has said that it is the right time and he got all he could from all the players.

"He needed something new, so I do not understand it very well, but maybe in football you need to find new motivations."

The decision of an iconic figure to walk away from the Santiago Bernabeu also saddened tennis legend and famous Madrid fan Nadal, who is currently chasing down an 11th French Open title.

Zinedine Zidane Real Madrid

He said: “I read the news and my first reaction was one of surprise – which is understandable because from what he has said in recent weeks, it seemed as though he would be happy staying on.

"A few months ago, I read that his continuity was up in the air because the season wasn’t turning out well… but like I say, I think it’s not a very pleasant day for Real Madrid.

"A legend is leaving the club and apart from being one of the best coaches in the world, who has enjoyed incredible success both as a player and as a coach, he is a person who has always conducted himself perfectly.

"He is a low profile man who shuns the limelight and who confronts difficult moments with a smile, without complaining about the referee, his players or the club – or anyone.

"He’s always shown faith in the players in his squad and respect to everyone else. He has also accepted sport for what it is – a sport, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose; you go through good times and bad.

"He is a good role model for young people and for society in general. Let’s hope rather than goodbye, it will be a ‘see you again soon’."