Real Madrid ‘make contact’ with De Zerbi as negotiations begin for Brighton boss

Real Madrid have reportedly made contact with Roberto De Zerbi to explore the possibility of appointing him as Carlo Ancelotti’s successor. A vacancy will open up at the Bernabeu next summer, when Ancelotti will take over as the Brazilian national team’s new manager.

Big shoes will be left to fill once he departs. Ancelotti is one of the most decorated coaches in European football history, and he has added six trophies to his cabinet since beginning a second spell at Real in 2021.

De Zerbi would represent a change of direction for the Spanish giants, given that his CV pales in comparison to that of his countryman. But transforming Brighton into giant-killers and top-six contenders by adopting an exciting style of play has made him a hugely desired managerial prospect.

According to Sport, Real Madrid believe that the Italian is ready to take the next step in his career and ‘initial discussions’ have already taken place.

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Senior figures at the Bernabeu are believed to be impressed by De Zerbi’s track record of bringing through young talent. Evan Ferguson and Julio Enciso are among the Premier League’s most promising teenagers, and each has come on leaps and bounds under the Brighton boss’ guidance.

Los Blancos have their own stable of young world-beaters including Eduardo Camavinga and Jude Bellingham, and they will soon be joined by Arda Guler and Endrick.

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Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola heaped high praise on De Zerbi earlier this year, saying: “There is no team playing the way [Brighton] play – it’s unique. He is one of the most influential managers in the last 20 years.

“I had the feeling, when he arrived, the impact he would have in the Premier League would be great – I didn’t expect him to do it in this short space of time. He creates 20 or 25 chances per game, better by far than most opponents.

“He monopolises the ball in a way it hasn’t been for a long time. They deserve completely the success they have. It’s one of the teams that I try to learn a lot from, it’s unique.”

De Zerbi cut his managerial teeth in Italy and enhanced his reputation during a successful three years at Sassuolo, before a brief stint at Shakhtar Donetsk preceded his move to Brighton last September.

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