Zidane’s comments after Real Madrid exit suggest he saw collapse coming

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Real Madrid

Holders Real Madrid crashed out of the Champions League as Ajax produced a stunning 4-1 victory in the Santiago Bernabeu to reach the quarter-finals on Tuesday night.

Los Blancos had been looking to build on a slender 2-1 lead from that game in Amsterdam and stay on course for a potential fourth straight European triumph.

However, Santiago Solari’s side were left shellshocked as they were dumped out by the Dutch champions.

The defeat was a fourth successive home loss following their El Clasico defeat against Barcelona on Saturday – as pressure mounts on the Argentine.

Solari only took over in October after the dismissal of Julien Lopetegui.

However, he has endured a nightmare spell in charge, with his troops trailing Barcelona in La Liga by 12 points and out of the Copa del Rey.

It appears Zinedine Zidane, who resigned in the summer, saw the writing was on the wall.

“It would have been difficult for me to win again next year,” he said, per ESPN. “There have been good moments, but also difficult times.

“I do not forget that. And at this club, you must know this: I do not want to start a season and have a bad time.

“I want to end with Real Madrid when everything is going well. I did it as a player, and now again as a coach. This [is] the right moment to end things well.”

Ajax raced into an early lead through Hakim Ziyech before Dusan Tadic set up David Neres for a second in the 18th minute.

Real Madrid were forced into two changes when Lucas Vazquez and Vinicius Junior went off injured, with substitute Gareth Bale hitting the post just before half-time.

Ajax looked to have put the tie to bed when Tadic swept in a brilliant third goal just after the hour – which was eventually given following an extensive Video Assistant Referee review to check if the ball had gone out of play in the build-up.

Substitute Marco Asensio briefly gave Real hope when he put the ball in off the post with 20 minutes left.

Lasse Schone, though, capped a brilliant night for Erik Ten Hag’s side when he curled in an angled free-kick over Thibaut Courtois on 72 minutes.

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