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Gullit: Zidane was clever to leave Real Madrid when Ronaldo did

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Ruud Gullit believes “clever” Zinedine Zidane timed his Real Madrid exit to perfection by leaving at the same moment as Cristiano Ronaldo.

The French coach stunned everyone last May by announcing his resignation as Real manager just days after winning his third consecutive Champions League crown at Kiev.

Two months later, however, star man Ronaldo left for Serie A champions Juventus in a €112m deal after enjoying a goal and trophy-laden nine years at the Santiago Bernabeu.

The Portuguese superstar’s absence has been greatly felt at Real ever since as the club struggle to cope without Ronaldo’s 50+ goals per season.

Los Blancos have fired one manager in Julen Lopitagui this term, who’s father slammed Real’s decision to sell Ronaldo and claimed that it inevitably led to his son’s downfall.

Now Lopetegui’s replacement Santiago Solari is in the firing line following Real’s shock Champions League last-16 exit to Ajax on Tuesday night, which put an end to their hopes of a fourth successive crown.

Based on these developments, Gullit believes Zidane got the timing of his departure spot on.

“Zidane was clever enough to get out of there on time when they lost Ronaldo,” The ex-Chelsea star told beIN Sports.

“That’s the whole point. And whoever comes after that has a difficult task. You have no Ronaldo. That’s 50 goals you don’t have.”

Ronaldo’s absence was also greatly felt in their double Clasico defeat to Barcelona, where Real just could not translate their dominance into goals and were left to pay a big price for it afterwards.

Now Solari’s side are out of both the Copa del Rey and Champions League with any hopes of a challenge for La Liga slim due to their 12-point deficit from leaders Barcelona.

Gullit added: “It was not a surprise. Because seeing Madrid lately, seeing the first match they [Ajax] played at home – and they didn’t deserve to lose – I saw opportunities, especially in Madrid.

“Then you see the game Barcelona at Madrid, played them [Real] off the park as well. You see the midfield and you think to yourself, ‘Oh my God. That is exactly the team they want to face!’

“And the worst part is this has been the easiest game of the season. That is even worse. Against Madrid! Not even in their home competition do they have easy games like this.”