Rumour Has It: Pochettino and Raul waiting in wings for Madrid job, Man Utd in Camavinga battle

By Sports Desk December 03, 2020

Is Zinedine Zidane's second spell in charge of Real Madrid coming to an end?

Zidane guided Madrid to three successive Champions League titles in his first stint, and last season's LaLiga crown after returning to the Santiago Bernabeu in 2019.

But the Los Blancos great is under mounting pressure amid the club's struggles this season.

 

TOP STORY – ZIDANE IN DANGER

Mauricio Pochettino and Raul are waiting in the wings to replace Zinedine Zidane at Real Madrid, according to widespread reports in Spain.

Madrid head coach Zidane is in danger of losing his job following Tuesday's Champions League loss to Shakhtar Donetsk.

Los Blancos have suffered back-to-back defeats and three in their past five outings across all competitions to be seven points adrift in LaLiga and on the cusp of Champions League elimination.

Thursday's Mundo Deportivo, Diario AS and Sport report former Tottenham boss Pochettino and Madrid Castilla coach Raul are eyeing the hot seat.

ROUND-UP

- Calciomercato claims the race to sign Rennes and France sensation Eduardo Camavinga is down to Madrid and Manchester United. Serie A champions Juventus had also been linked, though there has been talk of Paul Pogba returning to Turin after leaving for Old Trafford in 2016.

- Bayern Munich star David Alaba is hoping to strike a January agreement with Chelsea, according to Fabrizio Romano's 'Here We Go Podcast'. Alaba is a free agent at the end of the season and he has been linked to the likes of Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain.

Juventus have shown an interest in Barcelona centre-back Samuel Umtiti, according to Calciomercato. Arsenal's Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Fiorentina defender Nikola Milenkovic are also on the shortlist.

Madrid are eyeing Benfica forward Darwin Nunez, reports Calciomercato. The Uruguay international has also caught the attention of LaLiga rivals Barca.

- What does the future hold for Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland? Heavily linked to United, Madrid, Liverpool, PSG and even Barca, Calciomercato says Juve are monitoring the Norwegian closely.

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    Van Dijk underwent surgery on his knee in October after suffering a serious injury in the Merseyside derby against Everton.

    The Netherlands international has been missed by Liverpool, who are fourth and six points adrift of rivals Manchester United ahead of hosting Burnley on Thursday.

    Klopp was upbeat about Van Dijk's rehabilitation, but he is unsure when the 29-year-old might return.

    "He looks really good," Klopp told a news conference.

    "I spoke this morning to him on the phone, he is in a really good mood so it's all very promising but I don't know when he will be back.

    "There are for sure a lot of stages still to go over or to pass, whatever, that's clear. I had this injury myself.

    "For the time we are in and for how long he is out now, how long the rehabilitation is going on, he looks really, really promising."

    Since Van Dijk's Premier League debut for Liverpool in January 2018, Klopp's men have won 72 of 95 games with him in their side.

    That win percentage of 75.8 drops to 50 in the 14 league games in which Van Dijk has been absent.

    Liverpool have also averaged more goals for (2.3 to 1.9) with Van Dijk, and also conceded more with him (0.8 to 0.6) than without him.

    Klopp's side, however, have struggled for consistency so far this season and head into their clash against Burnley on a four-game winless run in the league.

  • Pirlo's Supercoppa joy 'more beautiful' than as a player Pirlo's Supercoppa joy 'more beautiful' than as a player

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    Pirlo won the Champions League and World Cup in a decorated playing career but said the feeling of leading a team to a trophy is something different.

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    "I'm at the helm of an important team, of a historic club."

    That burden looked to be weighing heavily last weekend after a 2-0 defeat at rivals Inter left Serie A champions Juventus 10 points off the pace in the Scudetto race.

    "The important thing was to win after the other night's knockout," Pirlo said.

    "We wanted to show that we weren't the ones from San Siro. We needed a game of sacrifice."

    Pirlo shared a warm embrace with his great friend and Napoli coach Gennaro Gattuso before kick-off, remarking this was no time to reprise their infamous history of play fighting and practical jokes.

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  • Zidane 'very calm' after Copa del Rey exit: Whatever has to happen will happen Zidane 'very calm' after Copa del Rey exit: Whatever has to happen will happen

    Zinedine Zidane accepted Real Madrid's stunning Copa del Rey exit to third-tier Alcoyano will lead to further speculation over his future, but insisted he remained "very calm" over the situation.

    Madrid were knocked out of the competition by lower league opponents for the first time since 2009 despite taking the lead on Wednesday, Eder Militao heading them in front on the stroke of half-time.

    However, the reigning top-flight champions in Spain were unable to build on the lead, meaning an 80th-minute equaliser from Jose Solbes forced extra time.

    A penalty shoot-out seemed the likely method to settle the last-32 tie, only for Juanan to pop up with a dramatic late winner that will no doubt increase the growing pressure on Zidane.

    "When you lose there is always talk, I take responsibility and whatever has to happen will happen," the Madrid boss told the media in his post-match interview. 

    "I am very calm. The players wanted to win the game, they try and sometimes different things happen."

    Zidane rested some of his regulars but still selected a strong starting XI, while Karim Benzema, Toni Kroos, Marco Asensio and Eden Hazard were all introduced from the bench during proceedings.

    The Frenchman could not fault the effort of his players as he accepted blame for the result; Alcoyano finished the game with 10 men too, Ramon Lopez sent off before Juanan's 115th-minute strike.

    Madrid finished up having 26 shots - 11 of which were on target - and had 73 per cent of possession, yet still crashed out.

    "The players have tried and if we score the second goal it is another match, football is like that," Zidane added after the 2-1 loss.

    "The goalkeeper has made two or three saves and we have not scored the second goal, but I take responsibility. We are out."

    He added: "This is football, it is very difficult because we played against a Segunda Division B team and we have to win the game, but it has not been like that.

    "It can happen, it happens, these are things that happen in a football career. I assume responsibility and we will continue working. We will not go crazy."

    Madrid must quickly put the cup result behind them as they continue their LaLiga title defence on Saturday, travelling to Deportivo Alaves.

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