Real Madrid believes that Mauricio Pochettino del Tottenham is the main candidate to replace Zinedine Zidane

5:20 PM ET

  • ESPN Staff

Real Madrid has set its sights on Mauricio Pochettino of Tottenham as the main candidate to be his new manager after Zinedine Zidane resigned, according to multiple reports from both Spain and England.

Pochettino signed a new five-year contract with Tottenham last week, but The Guardian and Indepedent reported that the Premier League club is still preparing for Real Madrid to try to attract the Argentinian to the Bernabéu. [19659004] Spanish news Marca and Sport agreed that Pochettino is by far the preferred choice of the Madrid president Florentino Pérez, who believes that he has a clear path to open negotiations.

Sources close to Tottenham told ESPN FC blogger Ben Pearce that there is no specific purchase clause in Pochettino's new contract that would allow him to go to another club, nor is there any informal verbal agreement that would facilitate a game, despite from an initial rumo urs on the contrary.

However, Marca reported that Spurs president Daniel Levy would be willing to negotiate a termination of the Pochettino agreement should Pérez arrive.

The reports linking Pochettino to Madrid existed long before Zidane announced his departure days after taking Madrid to the Champions League title for the third consecutive season.

Mauricio Pochettino EMPICS Sport

In January, Pochettino refused to rule out the management of Real Madrid in the future, although he said he would never be able to manage Barcelona after playing and managing his local rivals, Espanyol.

"My commitment is huge in this club," Pochettino said of Tottenham at the time. "I'm working like I'm going to be here forever, but in the end, it's like the players, you never know what's going to happen in football."

After retiring as a player of Espanyol in 2006, he took over the reins of the Catalan club in 2009 and managed there until moving to England with Southampton in January 2013.

He helped Santos finish eighth in his first full season in charge and then joined Tottenham. After a fifth place in his first season, he clbadified the Spurs for the Champions League by finishing third in 2015-16, and improved that to the second in 2016-17.

After finishing third last season, Pochettino was about to issue an ultimatum for Levy asking the club to dramatically change strategies, raising speculation that he was ready to leave London this summer.

However, he still signed the new contract 10 days later and said he and Levy shared "the same philosophies to achieve long-term sustainable success."


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