Clubs, Italian Serie A, Juventus, Real Madrid, Spanish Primera División, Story

The FC crew react to Real Madrid’s appointment of Julen Lopetegui as manager, questioning the timing as he prepares to lead Spain at the World Cup.
ESPN FC’s Gab Marcotti discusses the tricky situation Julen Lopetegui finds himself in as he coaches Spain before taking over at Real Madrid.

Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri has said he turned down an approach to become the new coach of Real Madrid.

Real announced the appointment of Spain coach Julen Lopetegui as successor to Zinedine Zidane on Tuesday, with the Spanish FA then sacking him days before their World Cup opener.

“I said no to Real Madrid,” Allegri told Sky Sport Italia. “I did it on the phone to [Madrid president] Florentino Perez because I had given my word to [Juventus] president [Andrea] Agnelli.

“I thanked Florentino for the offer but said I couldn’t accept it out of the respect I owed to Juventus.”

Allegri also indicated that Real were not the only club to have made an approach amid speculation that Chelsea were targeting him as a potential replacement for ex-Juve manager Antonio Conte.

“Let’s just say that I had made up my mind and already given my word to Juventus,” Allegri said when asked whether he had received other offers. “I simply informed this to all of those who came looking for me.

“At the moment, Juve are one of the best clubs in the world. We need to improve what we started four years ago, and I’m happy to do it with this group of directors. Agnelli is very ambitious.”

Allegri also commented on the future of Gonzalo Higuain, who has been linked with a departure in the current transfer window.

“I hope [he stays], but before we know for sure, we’ve got to await the end of the World Cup,” he said.

“Juve are a strong club and we always accommodate those who wish to leave. Forcing a player to stay against their will is always negative. Let’s just see what happens after the World Cup.”

Ben Gladwell reports on Serie A, the Italian national team and the Bundesliga for ESPN FC, UEFA and the Press Association. @UEFAcomBenG.

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