Al-Khelaifi quashes Zidane PSG approach rumour

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Zidane has been strongly linked with PSG since leaving his post as Real Madrid boss last year, particularly as Mauricio Pochettino struggled to meet the lofty targets set by club owners Qatar Sports Investments.

Pochettino missed out on the 2020-2021 Ligue 1 title after taking charge midway through the season, and although he led a star-studded collection of players to the French title in 21/22, he is widely expected to be dismissed after another disappointing UEFA Champions League effort.

Pochettino has been under pressure since PSG's dramatic 3-2 aggregate reverse to eventual champion Madrid in March, with Zidane touted as a replacement, but Al-Khelaifi says he has never been an option.

"I love Zidane, he was a fantastic player, of incredible class. An exceptional coach too, with three Champions Leagues," Al-Khelaifi said. "But I'll tell you one thing: we never spoke with him, neither directly nor indirectly. A lot of clubs are interested in him, national teams too, but we have never talked to him.

"We have chosen a coach who will be the best for what we want to put in place."

Al-Khelaifi confirmed PSG's number one target is Galtier, the man who beat it to the 2020-2021 title when in charge of Lille, and he hopes to appoint him soon.

"We are discussing with Nice, it is not a secret," Al-Khelaifi said. "I hope that we will find an agreement quickly, but I respect Nice and the president [Jean-Pierre] Rivere, everyone defends their interests."

With Pochettino set to leave the Parc des Princes and sporting director Leonardo having been effectively replaced by new football advisor Luis Campos, PSG is undertaking a significant rebuild after fending off Madrid's interest to tie Kylian Mbappe to a new contract last month.

The arrival of Lionel Messi last August capped an unprecedented recruitment drive from the club in 2021, with Sergio Ramos, Georginio Wijnaldum, Gianluigi Donnarumma, Nuno Mendes and Achraf Hakimi among the club's other significant incomings.

Al-Khelaifi admits the club's model must change, as he called for an end to the "bling-bling" approach of signing big-name superstars to grow the club's brand.

"The dream is one thing, the reality another. Perhaps we should also change our slogan... 'Dream bigger' is good but today, we must above all be realistic," he said.

"We don't want more flashy bling-bling, it's the end of glitter."


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