Real Madrid: Allegri snubs Spurs as he waits on Los Blancos
Together with Raúl, Massimiliano Allegri leads the list of contenders to replace Zinedine Zidane if the Frenchman leaves Real Madrid this summer.
As Real Madrid close out the 2020/21 season - it remains to be seen whether or not the campaign will bring Los Blancos’ 35th LaLiga title - coaches across Europe are getting themselves into position for the expected race to take over from head coach Zinedine Zidane this summer.
Zidane refusing to commit to Real Madrid
For weeks now, Zidane has been evasive when asked about his future as Madrid boss and some media outlets in Spain (TV channel Telemadrid and radio station Onda Cero) are already reporting that he will definitely be leaving his post. The Frenchman, who is under contract at Madrid until 2022, has denied telling the players he has decided to step down. However, he has not confirmed he’s staying, either, and the feeling within the dressing room appears to be that the 48-year-old is likeliest to quit at the end of the season, just as he did in June 2018 after leading the team to three consecutive Champions Leagues.
Allegri and Raúl top Real Madrid's list of candidates
Unsurprisingly, Madrid are already laying the groundwork to appoint a new head coach if need be, with AS revealing in recent days that the two candidates at the top of the club’s wish list are Massimiliano Allegri and Raúl González Blanco. Madrid president Florentino Pérez and general manager José Ángel Sánchez are both firm admirers of Raúl, who is currently coach of Castilla, the club’s ‘B’ team. They have been impressed with his work not only as boss of Castilla, a side he took to the Segunda División B promotion play-offs this season, but also Madrid Under-19s, with whom he won the UEFA Youth League before being promoted to the second team. However, the Madrid hierarchy is also fearful of giving the job to the club legend too soon. Allegri is an option who is far more established and has extensive elite experience; he is a coach whose profile fits perfectly with the position.
Allegri knows that, so much so that he has told his agents to hold off interest from other clubs until the situation at Madrid becomes clearer. The 53-year-old has been unattached since leaving Juventus in 2019, but his CV means he has no shortage of offers every summer. After winning a Serie A and a Supercoppa Italiana with AC Milan, Allegri then led Juve to no fewer than 11 trophies, including five Italian league titles. He also steered the Bianconeri to two Champions League finals, in 2015 and 2017, losing out to Barcelona and Real Madrid, respectively.
One club chasing Allegri's services is another recent Champions League runner-up, Tottenham Hotspur, who have approached him about replacing the sacked José Mourinho in North London. Ryan Mason has been in charge of the Premier League side in a caretaker capacity, but is expected to return to his previous role as a club youth coach at the end of the season. Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy is looking for a coach with far greater experience (Mason is just 29) and Allegri is seen as an attractive candidate - but he has told Spurs he needs time to consider his options… and to see what happens at Real Madrid.
Allegri also a candidate to replace Zidane at Real Madrid in 2018
This isn’t the first time Allegri has been in the frame to take over at Madrid. Pérez is a long-term admirer and, in the wake of Zidane’s departure in 2018, Allegri was one of several coaches contacted by Los Blancos with a view to filling the Bernabéu hotseat. The Italian didn’t feel it was the right time to take the job, however, and Madrid ended up appointing Julen Lopetegui, who within months was replaced by Santiago Solari, a coach who in turn made way for the returning Zidane.
"Three years ago, the president of Real Madrid called me to offer me the coach’s job," Allegri told Sky Sports recently, when asked about a possible future with the Spanish giants. "I had to say no; I had given [club president Andrea] Agnelli my word that I would continue at Juventus. In recent months I’ve received many calls and I’m ready. I want to get back into coaching. I miss working with the players day in, day out." In another interview, given to Radio Kiss Kiss, he explained that a medical problem suffered by a close family member has stood in the way of a return to the dugout, leading him to turn down offers from several major clubs.