MADRID (AP) — At least as a coach, Zinedine Zidane is going out on top.

After ending his playing career by headbutting an opponent in the 2006 World Cup final, Zidane is closing out his stint with Real Madrid with the fresh image of him lifting the Champions League trophy.

Zidane made the surprise announcement that he was leaving Madrid on Thursday, less than a week after leading the team to its third straight Champions League title.

It was an unexpected move by the former great who won nine titles as Madrid coach, including the three Champions League titles, one Spanish league title, one Spanish Super Cup, two UEFA Super Cups and two Club World Cups.

Zidane also thrived as a player. He helped France win the 1998 World Cup, but his career ended after the 2006 World Cup final, when he was sent off in disgrace for headbutting Italy defender Marco Materazzi.

His decision to quit as Madrid coach suddenly left the Spanish club's future in limbo.

Cristiano Ronaldo hinted after the Champion League final he may leave as well, and Gareth Bale, unhappy with his lack of playing time, could be on his way back to the Premier League.

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