REAL MADRID

New Real Madrid coach: Conte, Raúl frontrunners as Pochettino and Xabi emerge as options

With Massimiliano Allegri Juventus bound, Raúl and Antonio Conte have moved to the front of the race to take over for Zinedine Zidane at Real Madrid.

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New Real Madrid coach: Conte, Raúl frontrunners as Poch and Xabi emerge as options

Real Madrid have been left without a coach after the club announced the official resignation of Zinedine Zidane on Thursday.

This is Zidane’s second Bernabéu exit after his departure in 2018; and the third if we take into account the one he made as a player. However, this time it has not come so much as a surprise to the dressing room or the board, which has been preparing for this scenario for several weeks now.

Allegri out of race; Raúl, Conte now frontrunners

With Massimiliano Allegri, who appeared to be the frontrunner, choosing Juventus, two names have moved to the front of the race to take over for Zidane.

The first is Raúl, who has been in the race since the beginning. As previously reported by AS, the club has already spoken with the former Madrid striker to ask him about his plans for next season, albeit informally. The Castilla coach would be an in-house bet, but some members of the board believe that his time to take over the first team has not yet come and that he needs more experience.

The second name is Antonio Conte, who has emerged as a frontrunner in recent days following his surprise departure from Inter Milan. Conte is a coach with a lot of character and with a very strict work policy. Inside the club they are debating whether it is necessary to bring in a coach of Conte’s ilk or if it would be better to find someone with a more conciliatory nature, in order to maintain some level of continuity.

Pochettino a possibility; Xabi Alonso the outside bet

In the last few hours, Mauricio Pochettino has also emerged as a possible option. The Argentine coach, who has long been admired by the Bernabéu board, is going through his worst moment at PSG just six months after his arrival in Paris. His fallout with sporting director Leonardo could prompt his departure, and Madrid will definitely keep an eye on how that situation unfolds.

Mauricio Pochettino during the French championship Ligue 1 football match between Stade Brestois 29 and Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) on May 23, 2021 at Stade Francis Le Ble in Brest, France.

Raúl, Conte and Pochettino are also joined by an outsider that nobody saw entering the race: Xabi Alonso. The former Madrid and Liverpool midfielder -- who has had an excellent year at the helm of Real Sociedad B that was capped off with promotion to the Segunda División -- is another coach whose personality and knowledge is highly appreciated among Real Madrid’s top brass.

Of course, the situation with Xabi is the same as that with Raúl: he has zero coaching experience in the top flight and some in the Bernabéu boardroom will argue that it would be a better option to wait a few years for him to gain that experience.