Brighton & Hove Albion boss Roberto De Zerbi reportedly emerges as the leading candidate to succeed Carlo Ancelotti at Real Madrid after holding ‘internal talks’ with the La Liga giants.
Brighton & Hove Albion head coach Roberto De Zerbi has reportedly emerged as the leading candidate to succeed Carlo Ancelotti as Real Madrid manager.
Ancelotti is widely expected to depart the Santiago Bernabeu when his contract expires in June 2024 and take up the vacant Brazil national team job.
The Italian is one of the most decorated managers in world football and has scooped six trophies with Los Blancos since returning to the club for a second stint in charge in 2021.
Amid uncertainty over Ancelotti’s long-term future, Real Madrid are understood to have identified a number of possible candidates to replace the 64-year-old ahead of the 2024-25 campaign.
Earlier this season, the La Liga giants allegedly added Brighton’s De Zerbi to their managerial shortlist, while the likes of Bayer Leverkusen‘s Xabi Alonso and Real Madrid Castilla‘s Raul are also said to be on their radar.
The report adds that Perez admires and values the attractive brand of football that has been implemented by De Zerbi at Brighton and previous clubs Sassuolo and Shakhtar Donetsk.
Meanwhile, a separate report from Sport claims that Real Madrid have already held ‘initial negotiations’ with the 44-year-old over the managerial position in the Spanish capital.
Perez believes that De Zerbi is ready to take the next step in his career and can help develop a number of highly-rated stars already at the club including Jude Bellingham, 20, Vinicius Junior, 23, Rodrygo, 22, Eduardo Camavinga, 21, Eder Militao, 25, Arda Guler, 18, and Endrick, 17 – the latter of whom will arrive from Palmeiras in the summer of 2024.
De Zerbi, who has also been linked with Manchester United and Manchester City, is under contract at Brighton until the summer of 2026, but Seagulls CEO Paul Barber recently admitted that the club are “prepared” for the Italian’s departure.
Since replacing Graham Potter a Brighton boss in September last year, De Zerbi has elevated the Seagulls to new heights and has quickly developed into one of the most exciting young managers in world football.
Brighton qualified for the Europa League for the first time in their history under the tutelage of De Zerbi last season courtesy of a sixth-placed finish in the Premier League – the club’s highest-ever top-flight finish.
The Seagulls have had their challenges coping with the demands of managing European and domestic duties so far this season, but De Zerbi’s side are in a strong position to qualify from their Europa League group – occupying second with two games to spare – while they also sit eighth in the Premier League, just a point behind the European places.
De Zerbi, who has won 26, drawn 12 and lost 18 of his 56 games in charge of Brighton, was labelled as “one of the most influential managers in last 20 years” by Man City boss Pep Guardiola earlier this year.