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Pochettino places high on list of future Zidane replacements

Real Madrid have tried in vain to sign Mauricio Pochetinno on two occasions in recent years.

Zidane y Pochettino.
IAN KINGTON AFP

The dismissal of Mauricio Pochettino at Tottenham has highlighted the Argentine coach on the list of possible replacements for Zinedine Zidane when the day comes for the celebrated French coach to step down.

Pochettino also happens to be very well placed on that list. Not surprisingly, Real Madrid have tried to sign him on two occasions in recent years.

The first occasion was following Zidane’s shock resignation in 2018 after he had led Madrid to a third consecutive Champions League title. Pochettino was the first option to replace the Frenchman. But it turned that he had renewed his contract with Tottenham a few weeks prior, and his new deal included a penalty clause if he abandoned the London club over the proceeding two seasons.

Madrid then looked at other coaches, including Allegri, Conte, Nagelsmnan and Klopp, before eventually opting for Lopetegui, which turned out to be both a bad decision for Real Madrid and the Spanish national team he had abandoned to take the job at the Bernabéu.

Klopp and Pochettino.

Spurs deny Madrid for a second time

The second time Madrid was interested in Pochettino was last season, when Solari's days were numbered. The Argentine would not have come mid-season. But the club probed the possibility of  signing him in the summer.

Again, Spurs chairman Daniel Levy refused, knowing that the club had one of the best coaches in the business sitting in their bench. And the decision to hold onto Pochettino was not made in vain, as the Argentine coach managed to lead Spurs to their first Champions League final, despite having had to deal with a freeze on recruitment while the club was investing its resources in its new stadium.

Madrid again looked at other names like Conte, who was then without a team. But finally Zidane agreed to return to Madrid and it turned out to be the best solution.

As fate would have it: after Levy finally opened his pocket to spend 114 million euros on Tanguy Ndombélé, Giovani Lo Celso , Ryan Sessegnon and Jack Clarke in the summer, Spurs have been having one of their worst starts to a season in recent years and currently sit 14th after 12 games – a situation that has resulted in Pochettino’s dismissal.

Now his name will be on the top Florentino Perez’s list when Zidane and Madrid finally part ways for a second time.