REAL MADRID

Allegri is Real Madrid's chosen one to replace Zidane

Los Blancos have intensified negotiations to bring in the former Juventus manager, AS has learned, but they may not be as attractive as a return to Turin.

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Allegri is Real Madrid's chosen one to replace Zidane

Massimiliano Allegri has been chosen by Real Madrid to replace Zinedine Zidane as manager, AS has learned. But the former Juventus coach has come under increased pressure from clubs in his own country, most critically from his previous employer, that were hoping to lure him in.

Allegri lined up for Real Madrid

Among those rival clubs is one he is very familiar with, the Vecchia Signora, with whom he was so successful, at least domestically, and reports on Thursday were that they were in pole position. Recently crowned Serie A champions Inter Milan, though, have also shown an interest, following Antonio Conte’s departure, as have Roma, who would certainly pose a different challenge to the others given their current standing and squad.

News of Zidane's exit broke on Wednesday evening and at that point Los Blancos’ hierarchy did not know if Allegri had given in to those pressures back home and committed himself to a project there. Now, with the transfer equivalent bit between their teeth, the Spanish giants have set in motion the official mechanisms to get him nailed down. The decorated coach had already been made aware of Madrid's interest via third parties and was holding off on making any decision regarding the offers from Italian clubs so as to fulfil a dream of coaching at the Santiago Bernabeu. As stated above though, this may have to wait.

The 53-year old has remained Real Madrid's first choice ever since the possibility of Zidane leaving was considered. That said, the club wanted to be fully respectful to the Frenchman until the very last moment and did not make any formal contact until their man had made his own decision to depart. Allegri's attitude, in this regard, has been exemplary, choosing to hold off securing his next employer until the right option formally opened up.

Alternatives: Conte and Raúl

Inter coach Conte’s stock is high and after saying goodbye to the new Italian champions rumours heated up that he could slide effortlessly into the dugout in the Spanish capital. This has not been completely ruled out but will only come into play as a realistic option if the negotiations with Allegri do not go as planned.

As for Allegri, his idea is to make a smooth transition. If the deal is finalised, he will not arrive with a large coaching team, forcing a massive upheaval of the current regime, as happened with Ancelotti, who brought in 15 of his own. Instead he will bring his assistant, Marco Landucci, and coach Simone Folletti, with possibly one of two others.

Legendary back-up: Raúl in the wings

Madrid legend Raúl is the other man who has been considered for the role. Madrid were seriously considering the possibility of him taking over the reins of the first team, after gaining experience at the lower levels, but ideally they would like him to continue in his role.

Just like previously with Zidane, Florentino Pérez likes that he is the one who brings through younger players plucked from within the academy after seeing them first-hand, and will remain on stand-by in case things with Allegri don’t work out as hoped.