Spanish football journalist Guillem Balague has revealed that Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pochettino rejected the opportunity this summer to take over at Real Madrid.
The European champions were left searching for a new manager after Zinedine Zidane resigned from the position after guiding the Spanish giants to a third successive Champions League crown.
Madrid ended up recruiting Spanish boss Julen Lopetegui, who was notoriously relieved of his duties with the national side ahead of the World Cup after news broke of his appointment.
However, Lopetegui was not Madrid’s first choice to succeed Zidane. Both Mauricio Pochettino and Juventus’ Massimiliano Allegri both snubbed the opportunity to take over at the Santiago Bernabéu.
The good news for Tottenham was that Pochettino remained loyal to the club and signed a new five-year contract.
“Real Madrid went for Lopetegui not because he was their manager of choice but because the likes of Tottenham’s Mauricio Pochettino and Juve’s Massimiliano Allegri had turned them down,” Balague wrote in his BBC Sport column .
“In came agent Jorge Mendes suggesting Lopetegui for the role. It was only when Rubiales started to receive a whole heap of criticism from all and sundry that the mood – particularly the president’s – changed.
“Yes, Lopetegui could certainly have handled it better, perhaps telling Madrid to wait until after the competition before talking to them.
“Madrid could hardly have handled it worse – except of course they could not care less because as far as they were concerned they were just doing what they wanted to in the best interests of the club.
“President Florentino Perez did not want to appoint a failing national manager. Far better to have a sacked one before the tournament could evaluate his worth.
“If this sounds to you like a football version of House of Cards, well, that’s because it basically is. Big personalities, secret conversations, sneaky behaviour, and so on.”
Have something to tell us about this article?