Zinedine Zidane has surprisingly stepped down as Real Madrid head coach after leading them to three Champions League titles.

He announced his decision in Madrid before launch time today, after calling a news conference just an hour-and-a-half earlier.

The Frenchman was appointed as head coach of Real Madrid in January 2016 after the dismissal of Rafa Benitez, and guided the club to the Champions League title by beating Atletico Madrid on penalties in the final.

He won the Spanish league title in his second season, then became the first manager to win the Champions League in his first three seasons when Real defeated Juventus in last year's final, and Liverpool last Saturday.

Flanked by Real Madrid President Perez, Zidane told the media that he felt he had taken the club as far as he could.

“I have taken the decision to not continue into the next season. For me and for everybody, I think the moment to change has arrived. It was not an easy decision.

“This is my decision,” he continued, having admitted he had previously planned to sign a new contract. “Maybe it’s a mistake. But I feel it’s time. If I don’t think that we can keep winning then it’s time. How can I ask more from the players? Big players need a change.

“If I was the manager here next season, it would have been tough for us to win trophies,” he concludes.

Real finished only third in Spanish La Liga, 17 points behind champions Barcelona and lost in the domestic cup’s quarter-finals to Leganés.