Antonio Conte, Mauricio Pochettino and Santiago Solari are in a race for the Real Madrid manager’s job… but who will be chosen? (And could Arsene Wenger even make a shock return to management?)
- Real Madrid sacked manager Julen Lopetegui after a tough start to the season
- Antonio Conte and Mauricio Pochettino are among those linked with the job
- But who is the likely choice among Madrid president Florentino Perez and Co?
- Here, Sportsmail’s PETE JENSON runs the rule over the candidates for the role
Real Madrid coach Santiago Solari is Real Madrid president Florentino Perez’s 13th manager in his 15 years at the helm.
Will Solari keep the job or will Perez recruit No 14?
Sportsmail looks at the candidates to replace Julen Lopetegui, who was sacked in the wake of Madrid’s humiliating 5-1 defeat by rivals Barcelona in Sunday’s Clasico.
Real Madrid sacked manager Julen Lopetegui after a difficult start to the 2018-19 season
The La Liga giants suffered a humiliating 5-1 defeat by rivals Barcelona in Sunday’s Clasico
REAL MADRID’S NEXT FIVE FIXTURES
Oct 31 – Melilla (A – Copa del Rey)
Nov 3 – Real Valladolid (H – La Liga)
Nov 7 – Viktoria Plzen (A – Champions League)
Nov 11 – Celta Vigo (A – La Liga)
Nov 24 – Eibar (A – La Liga)
Head and shoulders the best candidate in terms of track record and availability. He has won the league in Italy and England and there is no chance that the job would be too big for him.
There appears to be two major sticking points: his demands and the concerns of the players. He wants a contract up to 2021 that covers his own team of assistants.
Madrid would rather he came for the rest of this season and all of next season and that he came with a small staff using club employees already in place such as Italian fitness coach Antonio Pintus.
Antonio Conte is without doubt the best candidate in terms of track record and availability
There are also concerns from players over his abrasive style. Sergio Ramos is not happy and the board are worried signing Conte might make the signing of flair players such as Eden Hazard more problematic.
Solari’s chances of keeping the job rest with the players. Many of them clearly don’t want Conte so they must perform for Solari and hope he stays until the end of the season.
He comes in as a ‘Zidane-lite’ because he knows the club having worn the white shirt as a player and he has coached the B-team.
Santiago Solari is a ‘Zidane-lite’ option as he played for the club and has coached the B-team
He has had little success with the second string but then neither did Zidane and that did not stop him winning three Champions Leagues and one Liga.
Solari does not carry the same weight, however. Players will run things while he is in charge. He could still last the course just by virtue of a lack of acceptable alternatives.
He wants to get back into club football after taking Belgium to the World Cup semi-finals and that desire to land a big job would probably see him make far fewer demands than Conte.
He is someone flair players like playing for and will only make the arrival of Hazard more likely in the summer. His club record is not the best, however. Wigan won the FA Cup but were relegated and at Everton he was a massive disappointment.
Roberto Martinez wants to get back into club football after taking Belgium to the World Cup
It can take time for his ideas to be taken on board by players; time that Madrid don’t really have down in ninth, seven points from the top.
It be would be a gamble but Perez has a track record of being swayed by World Cup performances and Belgium had an excellent tournament.
If getting Pochettino out of Spurs was tough in the summer how much more difficult would it be mid-season?
Pochettino gave out mixed messages before the start of the season saying: ‘We are talking about a club that 100 per cent of coaches dream of managing one day.’
But – when one reporter told him it was a something no one could turn down – he added: ‘You may think so? But you are not me.’
Madrid don’t believe they will be able to negotiate with Spurs chairman Daniel Levy mid-season and Pochettino, close enough to Levy not to leave him mid-campaign knows this chance will come again… maybe at the end of the season, so why force his way out now?
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has long been linked with the Real Madrid job
President Perez’s rating among fans is low at the moment and hiring Wenger would do little to boost it. This is the man who three times turned Real Madrid down when he was in his pomp.
Now that he is out of work it would not be a good look for Madrid to go back to him a fourth time. Fans would see him as the man that Arsenal got tired of and finally ushered out the door.
The coach who took them from the Champions League into the Europa League and who is now being shown up by Unai Emery’s bright start. The plus for Perez would be that Wenger might be open to taking the job until the end of the season.
Ex-Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger three times turned Madrid down when he was in his pomp
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