Cape Town - The football world was left stunned by Zinedine Zidane's sensational decision to leave Spanish giants Real Madrid after an unprecedented successful spell at the club.
The 46-year-old called a surprise press conference at Madrid's Valdebebas training ground on Thursday before confirming his exit from the club.
READ: Zidane confirms shock Real Madrid exit
Zidane has won a total of nine trophies in two-and-a-half years at the Bernabeu including three consecutive Champions League titles.
It has been a historically successful stint in charge for the rookie coach, becoming the first manager in Champions League history to defend the trophy, in Cardiff last June, before adding a third consecutive win in Kiev last Saturday night.
"I love this club and the president who gave me the chance to play for this club and manage the club of my dreams," Zidane told reporters.
Tributes flooded in for the Frenchman with Madrid captain Sergio Ramos hailing him as a club legend who leaves behind a legacy as a player and manager.
"As a player and coach you decided to say goodbye at the top," Ramos posted on his Twitter account. "Thank you for two-and-a-half incredible years. Your legacy will never be erased [in] one of the most successful chapters in the history of our beloved Real Madrid.
Ramos' Madrid team-mates also paid tribute on social media to Zidane with many calling it a pleasure to have been coached by their idol.
Mr. Zizou. I've learned a lot by your side! I have enjoyed as a child every training, every advice! You are very special to me! You have made history with your work, your dedication, passion and above all with your humility! Thanks Mister ...
I have No words to thank you for everything you've done for this shirt, Real Madrid and the Madrid fans. It has been a pride and a privilege to have my idol as a coach. Eternal Zizou.
It's been a real pleasure playing your orders, mister. Legend as a player, and now you're also a coach. It has been an honor to learn and win by your side. I wish you the best. Thank you and see you soon.