Real Madrid are considering Massimiliano Allegri and club legend Raul to replace Zinedine Zidane if the French coach decides to leave at the end of the season, sources have told ESPN.
Allegri, out of a job since leaving Juventus in 2019, and Raul, currently in charge of Madrid’s B team, Castilla, are the best-placed candidates, but not the only names on the shortlist.
Zidane — who already quit the Madrid job once in 2018 — has persistently refused to confirm that he’ll see out his contract, which runs until 2022.
“There are moments when you have to stay, and others when you have to go,” he hinted in a cryptic news conference on Saturday.
The radio station Onda Cero has reported that Zidane told his players that he would not be carrying on as coach last weekend, in a team talk ahead of their La Liga game with Sevilla.
Sources told ESPN that while the coach had raised the possibility of leaving at the end of the season, it was not left “very clear” to multiple players that a definitive decision had been taken.
However, sources say the feeling among the squad is that Zidane is likely to depart. The coach has not told the club if he will be continuing or not, and executives expect to discuss his future at the end of the season.
Madrid would like Zidane to stay until 2022, but preparations are already underway in the event of a possible exit, according to sources. Allegri and Raul top the shortlist, while Belgium coach Roberto Martinez has also been discussed.
President Florentino Perez has been a long-term admirer of Allegri, and his track record and experience in managing star players are seen as factors in his favour, while Raul has impressed while in charge of Castilla since 2019.
The sources added that Raul has attracted interest from Eintracht Frankfurt but is waiting on news of the Madrid first-team job before talking a decision.
“This is my home, where I want to be, where I feel like I belong… I’m a club man, I’m working, I’m happy at my home, and I hope to continue,” he said on Sunday.
Club sources told ESPN that for now, nothing had changed — “we’ll see if it’s confirmed,” one source said — and talks with Zidane will wait until the La Liga season ends next weekend, but there is a growing feeling that the French coach is on his way out.