Nagelsmann: "Real Madrid wouldn't have been the right move for me"

RB Leipzig coach Julian Nagelsmann confessed hat he would not have been ready to join Real Madrid when he was shortlisted for the job in 2018.

Real Madrid was not the right step - Nagelsmann

Julian Nagelsmann has revealed he turned down an offer from Real Madrid because he felt it would have been an unwise career move at the time. Then at Hoffenheim, Nagelsmann was on a shortlist of candidates to replace Zinedine Zidane at the Santiago Bernabéu in 2018, but Julen Lopetegui was eventually appointed to the post.  Lopetegui's tenure ended in October that year, before Santiago Solari had a brief spell in charge before Zidane returned in March 2019.

Timing was all wrong for Real Madrid job

Nagelsmann, meanwhile, opted to join RB Leipzig, taking charge in 2019 and guiding the side to a third-placed finish in the Bundesliga. The 33-year-old has confirmed he decided against joining Madrid, as he thought he was not yet ready to take on a job of such magnitude. 

"We had phone calls, but in the end the one who decided was me," Nagelsmann told Spanish media ahead of Leipzig's Champions League quarter final with Atlético Madrid.   "I believed that it was still not the right step to go to Real Madrid. I was one of the candidates and the list was not very long. For me, it was very important. I had a good chat with [Madrid General Director] José Ángel Sánchez and we decided that it was still not the right step. We agreed that we could talk again in the future if Real Madrid needed a coach, and if I was available." 

Nagelsmann added that Leipzig provided the ideal platform for him to develop as a coach.  "I wanted the next step to be logical. I try to plan a career in football, even if it is difficult," he said.  "I'm a young boy, I don't have to go to the top shelf right away either. I give myself time to develop. Leipzig went to great lengths to sign me. That was the most important thing. Relatively fast I had an offer on the table. We had good conversations and I saw that it was a good next step. A bigger club, with a bigger budget than Hoffenheim, which would allow me to continue developing. They have also given me a free hand to introduce my ideas. I do not have to permanently justify what I do, but I have the possibility to evolve and transfer my ideas to the field of play. It was a good next step in my career to prepare myself and in the future, maybe."