The footballing world was in for a shock on Thursday, as Zinedine Zidane announced that he will be stepping down as Real Madrid manager.

Just days after Zidane became the first coach to win three consecutive Champions League titles, the 45-year-old shocked the world by announcing his departure.

Alongside the three European successes, the Frenchmen won another six trophies including one La Liga title and asserted himself as a club legend not only on the pitch, but off it too.

When Zidane replaced Rafa Benitez in 2016, many questions were raised about his experience but the former Real Madrid player took charge of Los Blancos and truly dominated world football. But why would he leave?

The unresolved futures of Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo will have contributed to Zidane’s decision to leave. With the changing room on the brink of egotistical collapse, Zidane left just on time.

The question is now, who replaces Zidane at the helm of Real Madrid?

There’s no one in the world that wouldn’t take the Real Madrid job but who is really armed and prepared to manage one of the biggest clubs on the planet?

The hot favourite seems to be ex-Arsenal boss, Arsene Wenger. After 22 years in London, Wenger revealed his past communications with Real Madrid saying he turned down the move to Spain two or three times.

He’s worked with some of the biggest players like Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez and turned many players into stars along the way. That, alongside heaps of experience and the calm, composed manner in which Wenger imposes himself, the 68-year-old could be the perfect fit.

Travel across North London and you’ll find the other candidate to replace Zizou. Forgive us, Spurs fans – but it looks like Real Madrid is calling for Mauricio Pochettino.

The Argentinian has transformed Tottenham into a top-four powerhouse in the Premier League. With an exciting and exuberant playing style, Pochettino could bring a new dynamic to Madrid. He’s worked on a tight budget in North London and thrived in doing so. The 46-year-old has just put pen to paper to stay at White Hart Lane until 2023 but Pochettino may be lured away.

With a healthy amount of money and backing from top dog Florentino Perez, Pochettino could finally win some silverware and is a worthy front runner for the Madrid job.

The test for the manager coming in, is following up such ruthless success. Repeating what Zidane achieved in just under three seasons in merely impossible.

The hot seat at Real Madrid is a golden throne which is hard to hold on to, so whoever takes the reigns must live up to the sky-high Spanish expectation.

Who do you think is the right man to take the job at Real? Let us know by commenting below or tweeting us @AllOutFootball_ with the hashtag #AOF.