Musical chairs: Conte and Zidane quit, Pirlo could be next, Poch rumoured for Spurs return

May 28 – Two more high-profile managers are back in the market for new jobs after Antonio Conte left Inter Milan after winning Serie A and Zinedine Zidane resigned from Real Madrid after two and half years.

While the end of Zidane’s second spell at Real was no great surprise, Conte quit Inter just three weeks after steering the club to their first Scudetto in 11 years, mutually agreeing to end his contract one year early.

Conte was reportedly unhappy with plans by Inter’s Chinese owners to cut costs and sell players due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The image of the Scudetto trophy being raised from the highest tier of San Siro with all of you celebrating, I will carry that with me forever,” an emotional Conte told fans.

Inter had finished no higher than fourth for eight straight years when Conte was appointed in 2019 yet the former Chelsea manager led the Nerazzurri to second place in his first season before going one better in 2020-21.

But he apparently met the club’s directors before the final game against Udinese on Saturday and was made aware of their plans to slash the wage bill.

Elsewhere, winning the Ligue 1 title in France couldn’t keep Christophe Galtier at Lille either while Juventus are reportedly on the brink of sacking Andrea Pirlo and losing their most important player in Cristiano Ronaldo. Paris St. Germain coach Mauricio Pochettino, meanwhile, is reported to have held talks with Tottenham Hotspur about a shock return just 18 months after being dismissed.

As for Zidane, he is leaving Real after the club to win silverware for the first time in more than a decade.

The Frenchman, who in his first spell captured three consecutive Champions League titles, had a contract through to June 2022. Among the possible candidates being talked about to replace him are Massimiliano Allegri (also linked with Juve) and Conte himself in what is sure to be a frantic managerial merry-go-round over the next few weeks.

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