Mauricio Pochettino has said he turned down a “dream” move to Real Madrid last summer to stay with Tottenham Hotspur.
The Argentinian was heavily linked with the vacant Madrid post when Zinedine Zidane unexpectedly resigned last May.
Why did Pochettino stay at Spurs? Five key things to know…
- Last season, Pochettino led Tottenham to a third successive top-three finish in the Premier League.
- As a result he was rewarded with a new five-year contract, making him one of the highest-paid managers in the country.
- A week after signing his new deal, Zidane unexpectedly left Madrid and Pochettino was reportedly targeted as his replacement.
- Pochettino says a combination of loyalty to Spurs and Daniel Levy’s unwillingness to talk to Madrid ensured he stayed in London.
- The former Southampton boss looks to have led Tottenham to another top-four finish and the Champions League semi-finals this term.
At the time of Madrid’s courtship, Pochettino was coy about his Spurs future. Speculation ended when the La Liga giants hired Julen Lopetegui instead.
Pochettino has now revealed he did turn down a move to the Spanish capital but claims managing Madrid is the dream of every coach.
“The situation was difficult,” Pochettino said, as reported by the Evening Standard. “The dream of every coach was at stake: to lead the biggest team that exists.
“And you must say no. That is momentous. It creates a conflict. Because you know that if a coach wants to leave, he leaves. But I had just signed a renewal with Tottenham.
“And I felt that I could not do anything. Daniel Levy did not accept the offers to free me and if they ask me to break the contract I cannot accept it because I cannot behave like that.
“If my chairman thinks I’m going to continue, I’m not going to run off. Those are not my values. Why is it going to be good for a club to sign a coach who violates his commitments?”
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Pochettino: I could go home if Spurs win the Champions League
In his press conference ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League semi-final second leg against Ajax, Pochettino appeared to suggest he could leave Tottenham this summer – although it’s unclear whether he was joking.
The 47-year-old said he may decide to “go home” if he wins the Champions League with Spurs this season.
“It (winning the Champions League) should be fantastic, no? Close the five-year chapter and go home,” Pochettino said.
“It’s not a joke. Why? To win the Champions League in this circumstance, in this season – maybe I need to think a little bit to do something different in the future. Because to repeat this miracle, you know… But for sure, I go home. Whatever happens tomorrow (against Ajax), I go home.”
Spurs are set to finish in the top four of the Premier League unless they lose to Everton and Arsenal beat Burnley combined with an eight-goal swing this weekend.