Pressure is mounting on Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane, and the odds suggest he has his work cut-out to last until the end of the season.
Zidane took charge in 2016 and since being in charge has won La Liga and the Champions League twice – and it is arguably his former achievements at the club, both as a coach and a player, that have kept him from the axe thus far.
They are currently in fourth place in La Liga and some 19 points off bitter rivals Barcelona at the top. To compound Zidane’s problems, they were knocked out of the Copa Del Rey by minnows Leganes in midweek.
Now it is believed only staying in the Champions League, where they are due to face Paris Saint Germain in the last 16, will save Zidane’s job.
Spanish sources have confirmed that Real are putting together their wanted list of next targets, and Sky Sports’ Guillem Balague believes Totenham manager Mauricio Pochettino is their first choice to replace Zidane.
PaddyPower already make Pochettino just 4/1 to be the next manager of Real Madrid – and they are just 3/1 that he lasts the season
Spokesman Paddy Power said: “He’s a long-looking 3/1 to last the season – which more than trebles if Real go out of the Champions League at the hands of PSG.”
Pochettino is top of Real Madrid’s wanted list; he is number one, number two, number three and number four for Florentino Perez,” Balague has stated.
“He definitely wants Pochettino, there’s no doubt about that. I’m pretty sure Mauricio and Spurs know that themselves, but it doesn’t mean anything. Pochettino has often said his future does not depend on him and there’s truth in that.”
Pochettino, who has a contract with Spurs until 2021, has also refused to rule out the prospect of joining Real when asked about Zidane’s job.
“Tomorrow [Tottenham chairman] Daniel Levy could have a bad night and say, ‘Oh I am going to sack Mauricio’. And then I look stupid saying I am not going to work in one place or another or another,” he said.
“You never know in football. That is the problem. It is a very unstable situation.”
Zidane himself admits he is struggling and going through the ‘worst moment’ of his career.
“I’m responsible for this, I’m the boss. I have to find the solutions,” said Zidane.
We’ve found some of them but not consistently enough. I need to take responsibility and I’ll always fight.
“This is my worst moment as a coach.”