Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

'When Madrid Call You Have to Listen' POCH SAYS HE'S HAPPY AT SPURS BUT LEAVES DOOR OPEN FOR REAL Poch Leaves Door Open for Real Switch despite Saying He's Happy at Tottenham

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

'When Madrid Call You Have to Listen' POCH SAYS HE'S HAPPY AT SPURS BUT LEAVES DOOR OPEN FOR REAL Poch Leaves Door Open for Real Switch despite Saying He's Happy at Tottenham

Article excerpt

Byline: FOOTBALL Dan Kilpatrick

MAURICIO POCHETTINO today hinted he would find it hard to turn down Real Madrid despite saying he was happy at Tottenham.

Pochettino is thought to be Real's first choice to succeed Zinedine Zidane, who resigned yesterday after winning three consecutive Champions League titles.

Only last week Pochettino signed a new five-year deal with Tottenham, worth about PS8.5million per year. Speaking at an event in Barcelona, the Argentine said he was enjoying life at Spurs and confirmed there was no clause in his contract that would permit him to speak to the European champions.

Yet Pochettino also suggested that he would want to be given the chance to consider his options should the approach come from the Bernabeu.

He said: "When Real Madrid call you, you have to listen to them. Although in this case it doesn't depend on me. I have just signed a long contract with Tottenham and I am very happy here.

"I am happy at Tottenham because they let me work and we are growing together. Right now I want to focus on planning for next season and keep out of all the things that are being said. There will be lots of rumours, lots of things said, but I have no news from Real Madrid."

He added to Spanish publication El Confidencial: "I'm working very comfortably at Tottenham and it's my obligation to focus on that. I do not want, nor can I, comment on Zidane going but what he has done is undoubtedly very big: no one has won three Champions Leagues in a row recently."

Pochettino added that there was no Continued on Page 67 Continued from Back Page written or verbal agreement with Spurs chairman Daniel Levy allowing him to join Real. He also said that it would be disrespectful to Levy to try to force a move away.

Tottenham are confident they will be able to resist any approach for Pochettino from Real, particularly as it would cost the European champions at least PS42.5m to buy him out of his new contract.

Joachim Low, the Germany manager, is thought to be another name on Real's shortlist, but the 58-year-old has a contract with the national side until 2022 and any approach would have to wait until after next month's World Cup. …

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