Mauricio Pochettino had his first public appearance in front of the media today since the resignation of Zinedine Zidane as manager of Real Madrid. That resignation sent shockwaves through the European footballing world, and reports came out almost instantaneously suggesting Pochettino was Madrid chairman Florentino Perez’s top choice for the job.
Pochettino, who signed a new five year contract at Tottenham Hotspur just last week worth £42.5m, was at a bookstore in Barcelona today promoting the Spanish release of his and Guillem Balague’s book “Brave New World,” and naturally the Madrid job came up in the question and answers section.
According to @BarcelonaSpurs who attended the press conference in the gallery, Pochettino used a combination of deflection and denial when asked about his level of interest in the Real Madrid managerial position.
Sky sports reporter: are you ready for a challenge like Madrid?— SpursinBarcelona (@BarcelonaSpurs) June 1, 2018
Poch: right now I am ready for lunch. I'm looking forward to going back to London
Sky: surely no one says no to Madrid. It's impossible isn't it?— SpursinBarcelona (@BarcelonaSpurs) June 1, 2018
Poch: for you maybe. Not for me
And he went even further. According to Football.london, which was also in Barcelona covering the event, Pochettino called the links to the Madrid job “normal.”
“The link now with Madrid is normal and I take it with all normality. I’m committed to Spurs and still have a long contract with them I just signed.
”I’m happy where I am, and to be here talking about this book.
“We’re a great group of people. The technical staff, the board and the players we all believe in this project. We want to make the new stadium a reference in football. And we see people want to be part of this special project.
“I’m so happy and proud the Spurs and Levy have shown to me. That’s the most important thing for me. Today. What happened over the last day has increased expectations of the book release. But I’m happy.
”I am very happy to be at Tottenham. Let’s enjoy this moment now and in the future see what happens.
The quotes referenced above are likely to settle the stomachs of antsy Tottenham fans somewhat, even if they aren’t a forceful and unequivocal statement ruling him out of contention for the job. But it’s pretty much what we all hoped he’d say. It probably won’t kill the speculation or the breathless calls for him to leave London, but it’s a start.