Pavel Golovkin/Associated Press
After winning his third UEFA Champions League title in a row, Zidane walked away from the Madrid giants and was replaced by then-Julen Lopetegui at the Santiago Bernabeu. However, according to Mundo Deportivo (h/t Liam Prenderville of the Daily Mirror), the European champions had other names in mind.
Zidane’s last match in charge of Madrid was against Klopp’s Reds in the Champions League final in Kiev, Ukraine. Real were 3-1 winners on the night, with two goals from substitute Gareth Bale crucial in swinging the match their way.
Following that success Zidane stepped down. Madrid’s subsequent appointment of Lopetegui was a surprise, especially given he was preparing Spain for the FIFA World Cup; he was eventually dismissed from that position on the eve of the tournament.
Since taking over the Madrid role it’s not been an ideal start for Lopetegui, as he’s watched his team fail to score in their last four matches.
According to AS, there is already major pressure on the former Porto boss, and he could be facing the axe before the end of the month if things don’t improve:
AS English @English_AS
Here’s today’s front page, which suggests under-fire Madrid boss Julen Lopetegui will be given until the Clásico later this month to save his bacon. Also a mention for Sevilla, who are top of the league going into the international break. https://t.co/dy0S8x3pya
It appears Madrid had considered alternative options to Lopetegui anyway, and the prospect of Klopp taking over at the Santiago Bernabeu would’ve no doubt been appealing to Madridistas.
The German coach is regarded as one of the best managers in the world for the work he’s done with Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool. With the former he won two Bundesliga titles, whereas for the latter he has developed the team into a genuine challenger for the Premier League title this term.
On Monday it was Klopp’s three-year anniversary since taking over at Anfield:
It’s exactly three years since Jurgen Klopp became Liverpool manager 166 games 🔴 88 wins 🙌 219 points 3⃣ 333 goals ⚽️ 63 clean sheets ❌ #LFC #PL https://t.co/ZxbyKLbS6I
Per Fox Sports’ Keith Costigan, not only has the German earned impressive results, he’s also transformed mentalities at Liverpool too:
keith costigan @KeithCostigan
Late with this but 3 years since the appointment of Klopp at LFC. Completed turned the club around. Brought back belief among fans and developed a team capable of challenging for silverware playing an attractive brand of football. Looking forward to the next few years 👌🏼
Although Madrid have a gravitas that few teams can compete with in world football, it would be a surprise if Klopp was to walk out on Liverpool, as his current contract runs until 2022. Before leaving Dortmund, he offered the team notice a month before the end of the 2014-15 term.
At the moment, the signs are that Madrid may be on the lookout for a new boss again soon, as the pressure is mounting on their current manager. If they were to axe Lopetegui in the coming weeks, getting a high-class replacement in midseason would represent a massive challenge.