Mauricio Pochettino and Massimiliano Allegri are also being considered by the Blancos board as they look to move on from a disastrous campaign
Real Madrid have drawn up a four-man managerial shortlist as they look to appoint a successor to under-fire Santiago Solari, Goal understands.
As reported by Goal on Wednesday, Madrid’s shocking Champions League exit at the hands of Ajax proved to be the final straw for the Blancos’ directors when it comes to Solari’s future.
The 4-1 home defeat to the Eredivisie outfit followed hot on the heels of two defeats to Barcelona in the space of four days at Santiago Bernabeu, and now the club must decide whether to dismiss Solari now or keep him in situ until the end of the campaign.
Either way, his time as coach of the 13-time European champions is set to end, and a quartet of potential replacements are now being considered as Madrid look to avoid the issues that befell them at the end of last season.
Zinedine Zidane’s shock resignation following his side’s Champions League final win over Liverpool left Florentino Perez and the Madrid board scrambling around to find a coach to step into the legendary Frenchman’s shoes.
After a series of rejections they eventually plumped for then Spain boss Julen Lopetegui, but his tenure lasted just four months before he was replaced by Solari, who himself signed a three-year deal having been promoted from coaching Real Madrid Castilla.
Goal understands two of those who turned Madrid down in the summer of 2018 are again in their crosshairs this time around.
Mauricio Pochettino signed a new five-year contract with Tottenham just days before Zidane’s announcement, and as such Madrid felt the task of prying their top target from north London would prove almost impossible.
But after a 12 months that has seen Spurs fail to sign a single player and Pochettino openly admit at times that he has been unhappy in his current role, there is renewed hope that the Argentine could be lured to the Spanish capital.
Madrid are under no illusions that doing a deal with Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy will still prove difficult, but there is hope that Pochettino would be able to tempt some of Spurs’ star players to follow him to the Bernabeu, with Christian Eriksen and Harry Kane having been linked with the Merengues.
Massimiliano Allegri was much closer to answering Madrid’s call last summer, but when the Italian was notified of Juventus’s intention to sign Cristiano Ronaldo he was convinced to stay at the Allianz Stadium.
Things have begun to turn sour in Turin, however, as, despite a Serie A season that sees them 16 points clear at the top of the table and closing in on an unbeaten domestic campaign, questions have been asked of Allegri’s suitability to lead the Bianconeri into a new era.
Their 2-0 Champions League defeat to Atletico Madrid eight days ago has seen doubts spread among the Juve directors, and should they crash out of Europe in the first knockout round having brought in Ronaldo then Allegri’s time at the helm may well be brought to an end.
Perhaps the more intriguing names on the list, however, are those of Jose Mourinho and Zidane himself.
Mourinho’s first tenure as Madrid boss came to an unhappy end in 2013 after a series of fall-outs with senior players, most notably with captain Iker Casillas.
Despite that, there are reports that president Perez remains a fan of the Portuguese, with some sections of the media and fans advocating for him to be brought back into the fold.
Others are concerned at how his career seems to have nosedived in the years since his departure from the Bernabeu, particularly during his time at Manchester United, but he remains under consideration, particularly if Madrid choose to sack Solari before the season is out.
Zidane’s name, meanwhile, was unsurprisingly brought up in the immediate aftermath of Tuesday’s defeat to Ajax given his record of winning the Champions League in each of his three seasons in charge of the club.
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Popular with players, directors and fans, Zidane would be the perfect choice.
That said, Goal have spoken to sources close to the 46-year-old who suggest it would prove very difficult for Madrid to convince Zidane to return to a project he had closed the book on, while it is understood that he is being lined up by Juventus to replace Allegri should the Italian depart.
Other names including Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp, Germany manager Joachim Low, Belgium coach Roberto Martinez and former Madrid players Clarence Seedorf and Guti have also been brought up in the halls of the Bernabeu, but as of now they remain outsiders.