Mauricio Pochettino is the even money favourite to be the next Real Madrid manager if the Spanish champions decide to ditch Zinedine Zidane.
Last night’s 2-0 defeat to Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League was the latest in a poor run of results and followed the Spanish giants’ 2-1 defeat to Alaves in the La Liga at the weekend.
Madrid have now lost more matches in the Champions League this season than they did in their previous three campaigns combined under Zidane and could be eliminated in the Group stage, although they’re still favourites to win Group B.
There is speculation that Zidane could lose his job and Pochettino is at the head of Betfair’s market to succeed him.
Madrid face a tough trip to Sevilla at the weekend and, if they lose that, then Zidane could be sacked.
Madrid president Florentino Perez is not known for his patience and may decide it is better to act sooner rather than later to save Madrid’s season.
They are fourth in La Liga, seven points off top spot with a game in hand on the leaders Real Sociedad. Last season, Madrid put together a remarkable end of season run to seal what had looked like an unlikely title. They are not our of the race this season – and can be backed at 4.03/1 – so Perez may believe a change of manager can reignite their challenge.
Is Pochettino the right fit for Real?
The Argentine has been out of work for a year after being sacked by Tottenham. He has previously said he would not manage Barcelona, due to his association with Espanyol, so if he is to manage one of Spain’s big two then it has to be Madrid.
He has – as critics are fond of pointing out – won nothing yet, although the same was true of Zidane when he got the job and he steered Madrid to a three consecutive Champions League titles from 2016 to ’18 and last season’s remarkable La Liga triumph.
Pochettino transformed Tottenham into a regular top four side and took them to a Champions League final and is regarded as one of the best young managers in the world. He does tend to need time, though, so Perez would need to show some patience.
Other candidates in the running for the job include ex-Juve boss, Max Allegri at 3/1, Madrid’s former striker, Raul at 7/2 and the club’s former attacking midfielder, Guti 9/1.
Arsenal’s legendary former-manager Arsene Wenger, who many years ago turned down the job, is 12/1.