Mauricio Pochettino is the favourite to take over from Zinedine Zidane as Real Madrid coach, with the Frenchman’s job hanging in the balance off the back of another humiliating defeat to Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday night.
The 48-year-old has been out of work following his sacking by Tottenham Hotspur in November 2019, and he has been linked with some of the biggest jobs in world football ever since. The Argentine’s stock remains high despite his dismissal, having taken the north Londoners to the unprecedented heights of a Champions League final, and transforming them into top-four regulars.
And Spanish outlet El Mundo reports that the ex-Spurs man is the heavy favourite to take over from Zidane at Madrid, with the Spanish giants’ season already in jeopardy of becoming a disaster.
The other man who is said to be vying for the Bernabéu hot seat is Madrid legend Raul. The former forward is currently in charge of the club’s Castilla youth side, and he may be promoted to steady the ship in Zidane’s potential absence.
The Frenchman led Los Blancos to La Liga glory last season, but the capital city club have failed to carry that form into the new campaign. The champions lie in fourth position in the league table, seven points off top spot with a game in hand, and a shock 2-0 defeat to Shakhtar Donetsk in Tuesday’s Champions League clash has left their European hopes in the balance and deepened their coach’s woes.
The man at the helm of Los Merengues is not willing to go quietly into the night, however. Speaking after Madrid’s disastrous loss to Shakhtar – a result which puts them on the brink of an unthinkable drop into the Europa League – Zidane maintained he has no intention of leaving his post as manager.
“There’s no chance whatsoever of me standing down. We’re going to keep going,” he said.
Real now sit in third place in their group, behind Borussia Monchengladbach and Tuesday’s victors, Shakhtar. Europa League football is simply not an option for Florentino Perez, who reportedly believes the club’s history will be tainted by participation in the secondary tournament.
So, let’s watch this space with interest. We may finally be seeing Pochettino back in action – sooner rather than later.