Mauricio Pochettino admitted ‘when Madrid call, you have to listen’ as Tottenham face a fight to keep their manager.
In a series of open and honest interviews at the launch of the Spanish edition of his autobiography, Pochettino was grilled on taking over from Zinedine Zidane after his departure from Real Madrid on Thursday.
Rather than dismiss the possibility of taking over, Pochettino admitted the Real Madrid job is tempting.
Mauricio Pochettino was in Spain on Friday to discuss the Spanish release of his autobiography
Pochettino is the number one target of Real president Florentino Perez following Zidane’s resignation and was brutally honest during the bombardment of questioning.
‘When Madrid call you, you have to listen,’ he told El Confidencial. ‘Although in this case it doesn’t depend on me. I have just signed a long contract at Tottenham and I’m very happy there.’
His honesty is one of the things that makes him such a popular figure in the footballing world, and so his passion and commitment to his current employers must also be considered.
‘I’m taking all the speculation in my stride I am part of an exciting project I am content I am happy that the people in Tottenham are happy with me,’ he added. ‘The most important thing is to enjoy the moment.
‘It’s not up to me. My commitment is maximum. Let things flow. We are enjoying the moment and what has to happen will happen.
‘I am very happy at Tottenham because they let me work and we are growing all together. Now I want to focus on planning the next season, and keep a distance from everything that is being talked about.’
Zinedine Zidane (right) announced his resignation as manager of Real Madrid on Thursday
Asked if the next Real boss would be brave to succeed Zidane, who led Real to an historic treble of Champions League titles in his three seasons as manager, Pochettino responded: ‘They have won four Champions Leagues and I have the utmost respect for Zidane. But they have great players. So you can say that (it would take a brave man to take over now) but I would say totally the opposite.’
Spurs will hope it is mere coincidence that Pochettino was in Spain on Friday, just one day after Zidane called time on his glittering spell in charge of Real. But is he ready for such a high-pressure job?
‘No I’m ready to go for a nice lunch,’ he joked. ‘I am excited about going back to London. What will happen tomorrow, no one knows. I am so happy in Tottenham and I am so proud of the trust Daniel Levy put in me 10 days ago.’
He fits the Real mould, no doubt. But should such an audacious move for Pochettino materialise and prove successful, it would come as a great shock given that just last week the Argentine signed a new five-year deal with Spurs.
It is a well reported fact that Pochettino does indeed desire to manage Real in the future, but he has also maintained he would not disrespect the club by forcing a move to the European champions. Spurs have also insisted there is no buy-out clause included his contract.
Pochettino (right) pictured with Spurs chairman Daniel Levy after signing a new five-year deal
Silverware is the one thing that has held Pochettino’s Spurs back since his arrival four years ago, and it is a key aspect that Real would use as bait to lure him back to La Liga, where he managed Espanyol for over three years.
The 46-year-old has maintained throughout his spell at Spurs that he wants to build a team that can grow and win trophies together. It is a dream that his men have so far fallen short of . They dropped out of the FA Cup in the semi-finals in the past two seasons and narrowly missed out on the Premier League title on two occasions.
‘I think we have the best training facilities in the world,’ he said. ‘And we are going to have the best or one of the best in stadiums in the world.
‘Real Madrid have very big expectations.’
Chairman Daniel Levy will take the positives away from Pochettino’s words in Friday and maintain his faith that the Spurs boss will remain for another season at least after signing that bumper new deal. But that will not stop the ruthless Perez from attempting to push his way through and tempt Pochettino away.
He has made the same advances for Jurgen Klopp, Arsene Wenger and Joachim Low in the past. Attempts that were unsuccessful, but that will not deter him from making a move and it is a fear that will leave Levy eagerly awaiting Pochettino’s return to north London.
Pochettino is one of Real’s targets and admitted: ‘When Madrid calls you, you have to listen’