(Reuters) – Manager Mauricio Pochettino has reiterated his happiness at Tottenham Hotspur in some of his first public comments after he emerged as a leading candidate to replace Zinedine Zidane at Real Madrid.
Zidane announced his shock decision to quit as Real coach on Thursday, five days after winning the Champions League for the third season in a row.
Pochettino, who led Spurs to third place in the Premier League this past season, is one of the most admired managers in the world because of his ability to develop players and the attractive, high-energy brand of football his teams play.
The Argentine signed a new five-year deal with Spurs last month, but that has not deterred 13-times European champions Madrid from making him their preferred candidate to succeed Zidane, according to media reports in Britain and Spain.
“I signed a new contract 10 days ago,” Pochettino told reporters in Barcelona at the Spanish launch of his new book, A New World, adding that attempting to force a move to Madrid would be disrespectful to Spurs chairman Daniel Levy.
“I’ve just renewed with Tottenham and I am happy.”
The 46-year-old did not, however, completely rule out a move to Madrid in the future.
“The link now with Madrid is normal and I take it with all normality,” he added. “What is going to happen tomorrow, I don’t know, but I will always tell you ‘football is football,’ football will put you in your place always.”
Pochettino has previous experience of Spain, where he played for 10 years with Espanyol in La Liga, before going on to manage the Catalan club for four years.
(Reporting by Anirban Paul in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)