Real were on the lookout for someone to replace Zinedine Zidane after he quit in the wake of the Champions League final victory over Liverpool in Kiev.

President Florentino Perez ended up poaching Spain boss Julen Lopetegui on the eve of the World Cup, leading to the manager being sacked by his country just days before the tournament got underway.

Lopetegui failed in the role and was sacked following the 5-1 El Clasico hammering at Barcelona last month.

And it’s now emerged he was never Real’s first-choice.

Journalist Duncan Castles revealed on last week’s episode of The Transfer Window podcast that Pochettino was actually the man he was after.

Castles said: “Pochettino wanted the job in the summer, he was offered the job, accepted it and Daniel Levy prevented it from happening.

“You have to take from all of that that he’s very much a Real candidate and still the No.1 candidate from Madrid’s perspective to be the next permanent manager of Real Madrid.”

Pochettino signed a new long-term contract with Spurs in May, which ties him to the club until 2023.

“I am convinced that Florentino Perez does not want to make a mistake on this next appointment,” McGarry said on last week’s show.

“His one job as president, his own election credibility depends on the guy who comes in next and therefore he wants to put someone in charge until next May, at which point he will have had six, seven months to schmooze Mauricio Pochettino and Daniel Levy, to get Pochettino in to the job by the start of the 2019 season.

“I would say Solari is very much real for 14 days but in the spirit of halloween, he may well come as a ghost after that.”

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