Real Madrid fail to see fun in Pochettino's accommodation joke
Mauricio Pochettino was reportedly admired by Real Madrid but an apparent joke at the expense of the Spanish giants seems to have backfired.
Real Madrid have responded strongly to Mauricio Pochettino's "demonstrations" after the Tottenham manager joked his team had not been allowed to stay at the LaLiga giants' training base ahead of the Champions League final.
Spurs face Liverpool at Atletico Madrid's Wanda Metropolitano a week on Saturday and will train at Madrid's Valdebebas training base in preparation for the showpiece.
Pochettino has previously been touted as a future Los Blancos boss, most recently when the reigns of Julen Lopetegui and Santiago Solari were swiftly curtailed this season.
Apparently making light of these links in an interview with El Partidazo de COPE, Pochettino said: "Ahead of the final, we will train at Valdebebas and sleep in a nearby hotel. I asked Florentino [Perez, Madrid president] to let us sleep in the sports centre, but he told me that I can only sleep there when I become the coach of Real Madrid."
Madrid responded with a statement, in which it was deemed necessary to clarify Tottenham had never requested to stay at their club residence and that UEFA is solely responsible for such arrangements.
"Real Madrid CF is surprised by the demonstrations made by the coach of Tottenham Hotspur, Mauricio Pochettino, about a supposed request made to our club so that his team could stay in the residence of the Real Madrid City on the occasion of the final of the Champions League," the statement read.
"Real Madrid CF wants to make it clear that it is outright false that this request was produced. Our club has always shown its absolute availability to meet all the requests made by UEFA, the Royal Spanish Football Federation, Club Atletico de Madrid, Liverpool FC and Tottenham Hotspur.
"All requests submitted to Real Madrid have referred only and exclusively to the use of the training camps of the Ciudad Real Madrid and its changing rooms. And all of them have been granted by our club.
"Thus, Liverpool plans to train in our facilities on Saturday, June 1 in the morning. Tottenham, for its part, will do so on Thursday, May 30 and Friday, May 31."
The statement added: "Real Madrid CF also wants to emphasise that the accommodation of the finalist teams of the Champions League are assigned by UEFA following criteria of organisation and security. And that at no time has our club been requested that these teams could be accommodated in the facilities of Ciudad Real Madrid."
While Madrid performed well below expectations in pursuit of a fourth consecutive European crown, bowing out against Ajax in the last 16, Spurs have surprised many in a remarkable run to the final.
And Pochettino is keen to double down on his side's underdog status as they face up to a Liverpool side that finished 26 points better off than them in the Premier League.
"Maybe Liverpool is the favourite, because they played a final against Real Madrid last year [a 3-1 defeat] and because they've been fighting with Manchester City until the end for the Premier League title," he said at the Bilbao International Football Summit.
"Also, during the last year, Liverpool invested a lot in order to create a big project to win either a Premier League or Champions League.
"The truth is nobody expected us to reach a Champions League final, especially due to our priorities like building the stadium and our sports centre. Logically, we wanted to be competitive. Anyway, we are in the final by own merit. However, no bet would've chosen Tottenham in the final."