May 31 (UPI) -- Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane announced Thursday that he is leaving the club.
The legendary French midfielder made his intentions known at a news conference in Madrid with team president Florinto Perez.
Zidane, 45, joined Madrid's sideline in Jan. 2016. He has since led the club to a La Liga title, three Champions League titles, two UEFA Super Cups, two Club World Cups and two Spanish Super Cups.
Madrid claimed its most recent Champions League trophy on Saturday with a 3-1 win against Liverpool in Kiev, Ukraine.
Zidane informed Perez of his decision Wednesday.
"Zizou came to me yesterday to inform me of an unexpected decision that he has taken and I think he should be allowed to explain what that decision is and why he has made it," Perez told reporters. "At this moment, I would like to just say that I am standing by him."
Zidane called the moment "strange" and "important."
"As the president said, I have taken the decision to step down as Real Madrid coach," Zidane said. "I spoke to him to clarify what I was thinking and I think this is the right moment for all involved: for me, for the squad, for the club... It is a strange moment, but it is an important moment and I had to make this decision for everyone involved."
Perez said he would love for Zidane to be by his side "forever."
As a player and coach you decided to say goodbye at the top. Thank you for two and a half incredible years. Your legacy will never be erased, one of the most successful chapters in the history of our beloved @realmadrid pic.twitter.com/dO6bw74aA3— Sergio Ramos (@SergioRamos) May 31, 2018
Madrid battles Manchester United in the International Champions Cup on July 31 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla.