Pepe Reina says he would recommend his former Napoli coach Maurizio Sarri to “any team in the world” amid suggestions he is a candidate to replace Zinedine Zidane at Real Madrid.
Zidane shocked world football on Thursday when he confirmed in a hastily arranged news conference that he was resigning from his post just five days after guiding the club to a third successive Champions League title.
Madrid president Florentino Perez insisted Zidane’s decision took him by surprise when he was informed on Wednesday, leaving him with the unenviable task of replacing a hugely successful coach.
Mauricio Pochettino, Arsene Wenger and youth team coach Guti – who used to play for the club – are said to be the leading contenders, but Sarri has also been touted as an option after he was dismissed by Napoli despite leading them to a second-place finish in Serie A.
Although Sarri still has legal wrangles to sort with Napoli, Reina – who is joining AC Milan in July – believes the coach’s “maniacal” way of working makes him suitable for anyone.
“We are similar people,” Reina told AS. “We had a father-son relationship – I love him very much and I will also be eternally grateful.
“He is the main inspiration of the records that Napoli has always been setting in these three years and he plays a great game.
“I would recommend it to any team in the world, for his football ideas and his maniacal way of working.”
— OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) 23 May 2018
Reina’s time in Naples will conclude when his contract expires at the end of June.
It has been a long time in the making, as the Spain international revealed he wanted to leave a year ago when Paris Saint-Germain made an approach, while he expects it will be his final transfer before retiring in Milan.
“I wanted to leave a year ago,” he said. “PSG made me an offer, but Napoli rejected it.
“It would’ve been easy to force the exit, but the players made a pact for the Scudetto and I decided to accept the decision.
“Milan is one of the biggest clubs in the world. We have an obligation to return to the Champions League, which is an exciting challenge. I am happy to close out my career at Milan.”
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