ZZ top of Man United list
A mere 103 days after packing it in as Real Madrid manager, Zinedine Zidane appears to have grown tired of his self-imposed unemployment. “I am sure that I will coach before long,” the restless Frenchman told Spanish state-broadcaster TVE.
Having updated his resume to include a third successive Champions League title during his two-and-a-half year tenure, Zizou is now surveying the European landscape for his next move.
With a proven track record of immediately turning things around at an underperforming and historic club (let’s say nothing of his time in charge of Castilla), the likelihood is that the 46-year-old will resist the temptation of taking the reins at Huesca or Nimes anytime soon.
Given the limited number of teams capable of matching Los Blancos in terms of ambition and global standing, it’s only natural that Zidane’s name is being strongly linked with Premier League giants Manchester United.
With Jose Mourinho taking his three-seasons-and-done reputation more seriously than ever, Zidane's announcement will no doubt have caught Ed Woodward’s attention, as the Red Devils’ executive vice-chairman draws up his list of potential managerial replacements.
Shocking dive from Mourinho last nightpic.twitter.com/XIRbamet9a— Football Fights (@footbalIfights) September 9, 2018
However, the Galactico whisperer could face stiff competition for the soon-to-be vacant position, with fellow Marseille native and noted loose cannon Eric Cantona expressing his desire to resuscitate the Old Trafford club.
Another manager reportedly keen to up sticks is Diego Simeone.
El Cholo’s sister/agent let slip that Atletico Madrid’s man in black would like to bring his speciality brand of grinding out 1-0 wins to its natural habitat, the Italian topflight: "He likes the place, the environment, living in Milan. Inter are a team that he would love to coach. But he has also remained very close to Lazio.”
French hangover, Ronaldo's personal day
Despite Ryan Babel’s best efforts, Les Bleus were able to enjoy a victorious World Cup homecoming thanks to a thumping match-winner from the previously goal-shy Olivier Giroud.
But the 2-1 victory over Netherlands was merely a prelude to the post-game celebrations, as the French partied like it was 1998 (that’s an artist formerly known as Prince reference, kids), temporarily bringing peace to earth with players and fans performing an a cappella tribute to soccer’s most endearing figure: N’golo Kante.
Alongside the box-office draw that is Kosovo versus the Faroe Islands, the other most eye-catching morsel on Monday’s canapé of Nations League fixtures sees the country of Cristiano Ronaldo’s birth take on the country of Cristiano Ronaldo’s current residence, when European kings Portugal host the once-mighty Italy.
The good news for the visitors is that the headline-stealing Juventus striker won’t be featuring in this one, having opted to use the international break to binge on Netflix or finish reading Peter Crouch’s tell-all autobiography or whatever it is superstar athletes do on their free time.
No doubt the suits at UEFA, eager for their new fangled competition to win over the skeptics, won’t be thrilled with the Portuguese adonis’ absence, but after all the recent hullabaloo stemming from the Player of the Year award, what did they expect?
Leading the line in Ronaldo’s place will be Andre Silva, a man who can certainly relate to his more illustrious compatriot’s goal scoring struggles in Serie A. Coach Fernando Santos expects a tough test against the wounded Azzurri: “We know they have a great desire to avenge missing the World Cup and want to show their value in this new competition.”
Italy’s first attempt at seeking vengeance post Russia didn’t go exactly to plan, with Roberto Mancini’s men lucky to sneak a point against Poland last week. A defeat in Lisbon could spell trouble for the newly-appointed and chiseled 53-year-old, who may or may not have admitted his side isn’t very good during his press conference on Sunday: “Portugal will try to do something different and this is a good chance for them.”
Roberto Mancini looking like every other 53-year-old on holiday pic.twitter.com/N1xEdlhF25— Mike Anstead (@mike_anstead) August 31, 2018
And you can catch the highlights of this game on the XTRA at 7PM ET / 4PM with our Kevin Egan.
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