Spanish football expert Guillem Balague has claimed that Zinedine Zidane left Real Madrid due in part to comments made by Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale after the Champions League final.
The Frenchman shocked the football world by stepping down as Los Blancos head coach just days after winning Europe's top club tournament for the third year in a row.
Ronaldo and Bale cast doubt over their Real futures in the aftermath of the 3-1 win over Liverpool in Kiev, the former referring to his time at the club in the past tense and the latter expressing his frustration at a lack of game time.
According to Balague, Zidane felt that his authority was damaged by the duo's comments, which played a huge part in his decision to quit the Bernabeu.
"Cristiano Ronaldo, instead of celebrating with his teammates, decided to talk about his future, and there were doubts about the future of Gareth Bale," the Daily Star quotes Balague as saying. "This will have a big influence on Bale, the disappearance of Zidane.
"All in all, he felt that the distance between players and manager, the authority of the manager, had been hurt. That is why he had to leave. He senses that the players need something new, they need a new voice.
"To actually manage the situations that are coming up now, situations like Ronaldo and Bale, these players have been complaining.
"Zidane probably feels that if the players do not want to talk to me, they are not listening to me, I am not the one to take all that on board and change the dynamics. He feels it is up to someone else to come in and deal with it."
Zidane took over as coach of the club that he previously represented as a player in January 2016.