Lippi plays down Madrid rumour despite Zidane recommendation

Guangzhou Evergrande coach Marcello Lippi has quashed reports that he is being lined up to replace Jose Mourinho at Real Madrid next month, despite the club’s director of football, Zinedine Zidane, saying he is the right man for the job.

With Mourinho’s side struggling in La Liga, the former Juventus boss has been one of several names in the frame to be the next Los Blancos boss.

But the Italian, who recently led Evergrande to the Chinese Super League title after joining in May, says he is content at the club.

“Joining Real Madrid at [Zinedine] Zidane’s advice? It’s not true,” he told Italian radio station Kiss Kiss. “Not that I dislike being linked with a big club like Real, but there is nothing concrete.”

The 64-year-old, who led Italy to a World Cup win in 2006, is currently coaching outside of his native country for the first time in his career, and seems intent on continuing the good work he has started in China.

He added: “I read what was said about [president] Florentino Perez and Zidane in the papers, but I have two more years of contract in Guangzhou and I feel good there from all points of view. It hasn’t happened yet, but if there was a call, I’m still under contract.”

With Madrid in third place, 16 points behind leaders Barcelona and seven points behind second-placed Atletico Madrid, speculation is rife over who could replace ‘The Special One’ despite no decision being made on his future.

Germany coach Joachim Low is one of the bookmakers’ favourites, while Arsenal’s Arsene Wenger has also been linked with the post.

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