Pochettino becomes front-runner for vacant Real Madrid job

Real Madrid President Florentino Pérez has made Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino his first choice replacement as manager after Zinedine Zidane’s shock resignation on Thursday morning.

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Almost a week on from another memorable Champions League Final where Madrid overcame Liverpool 3-1 for their third consecutive UCL title, former Galactico turned manager Zidane called a ‘snap’ press conference at Real’s training ground in Valdebebas, and confirmed his departure from the club.

I love this club… What I think is that this team needs to continue winning but I think it needs a change, a different voice, another methodology.

– Zidane on resigning as manager of Madrid

‘Zizou’ announced the press conference just hours before it took place, with journalists and Spanish football experts stunned at the decision.

After averaging a treble every season in his three years in the Real hot-seat, Zidane has left on a high having previously said he’d only leave the club when he feels there is “nothing more to give”.

“This is the right moment for all involved – for me, for the squad, for the club.”

The 1998 World Cup winner Zidane oversaw 57 games at Real Madrid’s ‘B-Team’ before replacing Rafa Benitez as first team manager at the start of 2016.

The Frenchman went on to be the most decorated Real manager in recent history, winning 104 games from 149 (69.8% win ratio) and smashing several club records with a monstrous 40 game unbeaten run through much of 2016.

Club President Florentino Pérez has made the Argentine Mauricio Pochettino his ideal replacement at the Bernabeu Stadium, having reportedly made an effort the formally contact the Spurs manager.

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Poch’s Tottenham team were grouped with Madrid in this season’s UCL and actually beat the to-be winners 3-1 at Wembley, whilst guiding them to a third-place finish in this seasons Premier League.

Despite signing a long-term contract at Spurs just last week which will keep him there till the end of the 2022/23 season, it is unlikely to falter any communications between Pérez and Pochettino.

But Pochettino’s managerial repertoire stretches no further than a few EPL Manager of the Month awards, and the club could look to appoint a more experienced and decorated manager.

Those in the running include the recently unemployed Arsène Wenger as well as Chelsea manager Antonio Conte.

The wildcard choices for the vacant job include former Galacticos Guti and Raul, with talks of Atletico Madrid’s Diego Simeone, Juventus boss Massimo Allegri and even Jürgen Klopp of Liverpool being thrown around.

Zidane’s resignation triggered a potential managerial merry-go-round, and the 1998 Ballon d’Or winner has already been linked with a move to Chelsea with Conte largely expected to leave his position at Chelsea over the summer.

It’s sure to be a hectic summer of managerial change. With the market for young and high-profile disparate, Zidane’s stock as a manager will be sky-high, and the Frenchman could easily land a top job in Europe in time for next season.

The Author

Luke Phelps

MA Sports Journalism at Sheffield Hallam University and QPR supporter. Swedish Allsvenskan writer for BPF.

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