He probably knew that it would not – could not – last. The explanation he gave for waiting was that the club and the players needed "a change to keep winning". He said, "After three years, it takes a different voice, a different way of working, and that's why I made that decision."
Zidane, of course, is better qualified than most to understand what drives elite players like susceptible to boredom. No one could be better able to read the signs that a group of superstars began to become immune to his messages. Perhaps Real Madrid's league, 17 points behind Barcelona, was the only warning he needed
What's more, he's in a unique position to know the dangers of staying too long. It does not seem unreasonable that the way his playing career ended ̵
He made it on Thursday was clear that he would not immediately switch to another role – he would not train another club next season, he said – but that should not come as a big surprise. Zidane has always made it clear that he is Real Madrid, "my club, a club that will always be in my heart," and the French national team, and no one else. Depending on how Didier Deschamps plays in the World Cup, there is no need for a clairvoyant to find out what his next job might be.
For Real Madrid, the future is much less clear. The 13th European Cup of the club starts to feel like a blessing. In the field in Kiev in Ukraine, immediately after the final whistle against Liverpool, Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo have expressed doubts about their future in Madrid – one more convincing than the other – and now the club manager has left.
That has always been a summer of change in Madrid: Pérez has not strengthened his all-encompassing first team since 2014 when Toni Kroos arrived. Although Real Madrid's finances are not quite as strong as they appeared before Neymar falsified the transfer market last summer, the plan has always been to invest substantially this year. Robert Lewandowski, Bayern Munich striker, is a goal.
However, a manager was not on the agenda. Pérez sat furtively in Zidane's announcement. The decision surprised him, he admitted. He visited the Frenchman on Wednesday at home to dissuade him and failed. Pérez initially had doubts and with every bad result, but now he realized that he had come across the perfect manager.