Tottenham's Mauricio Pochettino not an easy target as Real Madrid hunt new boss
Home âº Sport âº FootballTottenhamâs Mauricio Pochettino not an easy target as Real Madrid hunt new boss
Zidane won three Champions League trophies and a LaLiga title in two and a half years as Real boss.
Real Madrid will face a challenge to lure Mauricio Pochettino away from Tottenham if the Argentinian coach emerges as the Eu ropean championsâ preferred choice to replace Zinedine Zidane at the Bernabeu.
Just five days after leading Los Blancos to Champions League glory for a third straight season with victory over Liverpool in Kiev, Zidane announced his shock departure.
Despite their consistent European success, a disappointing LaLiga campaign which saw Real struggle to finish third, some 17 points behind their bitter rivals Barcelona, was plagued by speculation about Zidaneâs long-term future.
Real president Florentino Perez said he had only heard of Zidaneâs decision to quit late on Wednesday. At a hastily-convened press conference less than 24 hours later, Zidane revealed he was stepping down.
Following the shock announcement, attention turned to who would be the man charged with leading the European champions next season as they look to wrestle back domestic dominance from Barcelona.
Pochettino agreed a new five-year contract with Spurs last week, but th e former Espanyol and Southampton boss is said to be on Realâs swiftly-drawn up shortlist.
Following another campaign of finishing in the top three of the Premier League, Tottenham â" set to move back into a new redeveloped home stadium next season, remain determined to see Pochettino at the helm.
Press Association Sport understands there is no buy-out clause in the terms of Pochettinoâs new deal and no verbal agreement with chairman Daniel Levy that the 46-year-old could leave should Real Madrid come calling.
Zidane was understood to be under contract at the Bernabeu until 2020.
The former Real and Juventus midfielder, though, felt the time was right to move on. He said at a press conference, quoted on the clubâs official website: âIâm sure the decision makes no sense to a lot of people, but for me it does.
âIt is time for a change, for the players too. After three years, itâs the right decision.â
The World Cup winner add ed: âIt is a lot more simple than it seems, sometimes you have to know when to stop. I am doing this for the greater good of the team and I think if I stayed it would be hard to win again next year.
âI want to end this era at Real Madrid on a high. I did that as a player and Iâm doing that now. I think this is the time to go out at the top.â
Real must now start an unexpected recruitment process, with the World Cup on the horizon before embarking on pre-season preparations .
Perez, who sat alongside Zidane on Thursday afternoon, said: âThis was a totally unexpected decision, Zidane informed me of his choice yesterday. I thank him for the work he has done.â
As well as Pochettino, former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and the Italian Maurizio Sarri, most recently of Napoli, have all been linked with the high-profile role.
Resolving the futures of Gareth Bale and star striker Cristiano Ronaldo will be priorities for the new boss. Ronaldo joined the tributes, saying he was âproudâ to have played for Zidane, while captain Sergio Ramos said his âlegacy will never be erased.â
It remains to be seen whether Marseille-born Zidane will opt to take a break from the game or pursue a fresh challenge immediately.
Vacancies at top European clubs are currently limited, but the fallout from this summerâs World Cup in Russia might present a first international challenge to Zidane, who stepped up from managing the âCast illaâ B team to replace Rafael Benitez in January 2016.
For now, though, the 45-year-old Frenchman will take some time to consider his next move.
âIâm not going to work with another team for the moment. Iâm not looking for another team,â Zidane said.
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