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02nd Jun 2018

Real Madrid might just have found the man to replace Zinedine Zidane

Wayne Farry

Could he be the man to replace Zidane?

Zinedine Zidane’s surprise departure from Real Madrid this week cast the European champions into a state of flux and just days after their third consecutive Champions League victory, the Spanish giants have found themselves without a manager.

The early money in terms of who would replace the Frenchman was on Arsene Wenger, who left Arsenal at the end of the season after more than two decades at the club.

As time has passed though, there have been increasingly vocal calls for Wenger’s former North London rival, Mauricio Pochettino, to be given the opportunity to move onto the next level with the Galacticos.

The Argentine coach has recently signed a five year deal with Tottenham Hotspur, but rumours have circulated over whether that deal includes a clause which may or may not smooth his path to Madrid.

Madrid remain aware though that successfully prying Pochettino from the clutches of Daniel Levy will be a difficult task, and reports in Italy suggest that president Florentino Perez has earmarked former Napoli manager Maurizio Sarri as a potential candidate for the job.

The 59-year-old, who was originally a banker before transitioning into coaching at the age of 40, enjoyed enormous success at the Neapolitan club, but ultimately failed to overcome the dominance of Juventus domestically.

He has been strongly linked with the Chelsea job if, as expected, Antonio Conte leaves the club, but recent speculation suggests that former Barcelona manager Luis Enrique will take over from Conte instead.

One sticking point for any potential move for Sarri will be his release clause at Napoli, which remains active despite his departure from the club.