Zinedine Zidane shocked the footballing world the other day when he announced that he was stepping down as manager of Real Madrid. He had just won his third Champions League title in a row with the Spanish giants, but he ultimately chose to walk away on top.
Some Tottenham Hotspur fans began to panic when it was reported that Mauricio Pochettino was one of Madrid’s top choices to be Zidane’s replacement. Today’s news should assuage those fears quite a bit.
According to Spanish outlet COPE, Real Madrid have given up on trying to hire Pochettino to be their new manager. Here’s a sketchy translation of the article:
Paco González reported this Saturday in Tiempo de Juego that last Thursday afternoon there was a conversation between the general manager of Real Madrid, José Ángel Sánchez, with the representative of Mauricio Pochettino and he confirmed that there is no verbal agreement to let him out Tottenham and that there is no release clause.
Being as it is Daniel Levy, owner of Tottenham, Pochettino already pointed out to Sports Four: “Beware of Levy, who bites” - hard in the negotiations as Real Madrid could already account in the cases of Modric and Bale that lengthened several weeks, for that reason, from Chamartin the option of the Argentine technician is discarded...Pochettino either is not going away to declare in rebellion by gratefulness to Levy and this can be extended in the time and the Real Madrid wants to close the chapter of their newcoach in a logical time period.
It should be noted that COPE is considered to be a reliable source for Spanish football news.
The translation may not be perfect, but the story seems to be pretty clear. There is no release clause in Pochettino’s contract so they would have to buy out his new deal completely. There is no reason to believe that he wants to leave, and Levy would make it so hard for him to leave that it’s just not worth it right now. Madrid want to find their new manager quickly, and thus that rules out Pochettino.
The news was also confirmed by Guillem Balague, who wrote “Brave New World”, the book about Poch that the two had a press conference for yesterday in Barcelona. Balague and Pochettino have grown close, so it’s probably safe to trust his word here too.
In a perfect world this revelation would stop the tabloid’s numerous stories about Pochettino and Real Madrid, but this is no perfect world. It’s still early in the silly season that is the summer transfer window, so the Mirrors and MARCAs of the world will have to find other sensational stories to fill their pages.
It cannot be overstated just how crucial keeping Pochettino is for Spurs. This is his project, and the squad has bought into his system and his teachings. If he were to leave, surely key players would follow, which was a big part of the anxiety when it surfaced that Madrid were interested.
But Spurs fans can rest easy...at least for now.