Mauricio Pochettino has yet to return to management since his sacking by Spurs six months ago. The Argentinian took Tottenham to new heights during his five and half year tenure. His last eighteen months saw the culmination of his project which included the club playing their first Champions League final all while moving into a new stadium and not spending a penny on new transfers. But, Pochettino says that he and his staff are now fully recharged and eager to find the next project. In an extensive interview with The Guardian, Pochettino shared a funny anecdote about the good relationship with Jose Mourinho which stemmed from the time they shared in La Liga while mourinho was at Real Madrid and Pichettino at Espanyol.
During Mourinho’s final season at the club, pressure was mounting and many Spanish outlets were starting to queue the list of potential replacements, among them was Pochettino. In a pre-match press conference before Real Madrid vs Espanyol, Pochettino was asked about the apparent interest from the capital club. “My kids are sleeping in Espanyol pyjamas every night so it’s very difficult for me to think about changing clubs,” he told the press room.
Mourinho, never one to miss small details, caught that line and had a gift for Pochettino after the match.
“It was a very nice bottle of French red wine for me and two Real Madrid kits,” Pochettino noted. “Jose said: ‘OK, these are for your kids to wear from now on.’ We have kept a good relationship since then and I am so happy he is at Tottenham, replacing me. I am happy as well to have left the club in the condition that we left it and for sure he is very grateful for the way that we helped to build the club, which is now his club.”
Pochettino then admitted that those stories did get him thinking about a potential move to Real Madrid. “I always thought I’d replace him. He was at Real Madrid. I would say to myself: ‘Oh, maybe one day I can take your place at Real Madrid,’ but look at how life works out. He has taken my place at Tottenham. Unbelievable, eh?”
Many Real Madrid fans hold Pochettino in the highest regard and he was the top candidate to replace Zidane after his departure in 2018, but ultimately decided it was not yet time to leave Spurs. His refusal to coach Barcelona and the respect he has always paid Real Madrid leave many to still feel he is a top candidate for the future.