The Tale of Two Unattached Top Managers

Two unattached top managers, Zinedine Zidane and Marcelo Gallardo, have both shown an unusual tendency in rejecting offers lately. 

Zinedine Zidane and Marcelo Gallardo have been a few managers in demand recently. Both were successful in guiding their former clubs, Real Madrid and River Plate, to prestigious titles in both domestic and continental competitions.

This is a surprising anomaly, given that those two top managers have never been short of offers. When there are clubs and national teams hunting a new manager, their names are always mentioned. Brazil and Juventus are two teams that have expressed interest in both.

Nevertheless, Zidane and Gallardo appear to take their time before landing on the next job, rather than grabbing what comes first. Both are thought to be waiting for the right one. The public have been anxiously wondering when they would make their return into the dugout or which sides they would end up taking charge. Yet, nobody but themselves could tell the answer.

Zidane and Gallardo among the unemployed top managers

Zidane and his France dream

Zidane’s decision to leave Real Madrid at the end of the 2020-21 season was widely interpreted as the French manager’s decision to take a short break before aiming for the next goal, which is to lead the France national team after the 2022 World Cup. Les Bleus were chastised prior to the final round for their poor performance in the UEFA Nations League 2022/23. Didier Deschamps’ future was also jeopardized at the time. This would presumably pave the way for the former three-time Ballon d’Or winner to lead Kylian Mbappe and Co starting from 2023.

Unfortunately for Zidane, things turned out quite differently. France’s World Cup campaign was very positive in Qatar. They were only defeated in a shootout by Argentina in the final. The FFF then decided to keep Deschamps for EURO 2024 and 2026 World Cup. Nonetheless, Zidane still keeps his sights set on his dream job in the future.

PSG, Juventus, Chelsea, and Newcastle have all made bids for him, as have five national teams, including Brazil, Portugal, and the United States. Unfortunately, they were all left empty-handed. The Frenchman turned them all down. His lack of language skills is said to be the main reason.

However, the legendary playmaker was said to be open to leading Bayern Munich in the future despite never setting foot in Bundesliga. Such is still very unlikely to happen anytime soon. Bayern’s current boss, Julian Nagelsmann, is enjoying his spell in Bavaria.

Whether Zizou will wait for another four years for Les Blues or eventually accept one of the offer soon remains unknown. It will be interesting to see how long he is willing to wait for such a speculative dream job.

Gallardo and His Expected European Debut

While Zidane seems to have identified his next target, Marcelo Gallardo is, in fact, on the contrary. He has even yet to make his managerial debut in Europe. However, it does not stop the former Monaco and PSG man from being a top target. 

Gallardo spent the majority of his career as head coach of River Plate. The 47-year old coach has won 14 trophies for Los Millonarios from 2014 to 2022, including one domestic league trophy and two Copa Libertadores titles before ending his 8-year reign. His only spell abroad was in the 2011/12 season with Uruguayan side Nacional. It was his debut as a manager, where he managed to win a league title.

Recently, the Argentine has reportedly been linked to a move to the European league again. Previously, he was touted as one of the candidates for Barcelona boss in 2020. Ajax Amsterdam and Leeds United have made contact with Gallardo, but he has already rejected the former, stating that he was not in a rush to make his return to management.

It is believed that Gallardo would wait until next summer for his next destination. Leeds’s offer may be attractive. Such gives him the instant experience in the world’s best league. Yet, his lack of experience in English football and the language barrier might indicate that he would prefer a chance in Spain or France instead. 

Gallardo should not wait for too long as he might no longer become the priority in the future. Several unattached top managers have been constantly under consideration for a number of vacant posts. The likes of Thomas Tuchel, Mauricio Pocchettino, Steven Gerrard and Zidane himself clearly have the advantage of experience in European leagues. 

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