When you’ve got a book to sell, it’s a given you need to drum up headlines and create a buzz of publicity.
From the media’s perspective, a book launch coinciding with a hot news line and topic, of which the writer or individual being written about is part of the story, is an open goal, can’t miss opportunity in football terms.
The subject, whoever they are, need to promote and shift their book from the shelves while journalists have a relatively straightforward story to cover in the palm of their hands. Bingo.
You have to give Mauricio Pochettino and his PR team all the benefit of the doubt, that his hardback offering: ‘A Brave New World‘, was always intended to be launched on Friday in Barcelona.
That, as such, meant his schedule to arrange a date for promotional purposes would have been tight but it made sense to do it in Catalonia given the 46-year-old’s long association with the region and his lengthy stint as a cult hero at Espanyol.
But, for a man often billed as potential successor to Zinedine Zidane even before the Frenchman unexpectedly resigned on Thursday, the timing of the launch is well placed.
In an era where journalists’ access to footballers and managers is becoming more and more difficult given the ever-growing powers of club media channels, you could say fair play to Pochettino for taking questions in a one-on-one and press conference environment.
Then again, what happened in Barcelona on Friday was a prime example of why, sometimes, you need to take those in the limelight out of the firing line.
As soon as the news broke of Zidane’s departure, it was obvious Pochettino’s name would be among the frontrunners and that storyline would indeed dominate his book launch.
The man himself, knowing full well what was coming, should have declined those interview requests, shown respect to Tottenham and not answered any Real Madrid-linked questions.
Having just re-committed to the club and lauded words about his future and their future at a brand new stadium last week, to publicly state he would consider, what could be an imminent approach from Los Blancos, was shocking.
Yes, he might have had a clause inserted to his new deal allowing him to engage in discussions with Florentino Perez should the Whites come calling, but to declare his interest so publicly, showed no loyalty and spoke volumes of someone who has been labelled a career manager in the past.
By all means, hold talks with the Bernabeu giants privately but his comments left a sour taste for a manager who has been deservedly revered in recent seasons for the way in which he has rejuvenated Spurs.
“You can rule me out completely,” were the words of Joachim Low, the Germany manager, when he was asked if he would be interested in taking the job.
This was a classic example of a manager swiftly dealing with a rumour and putting it to bed.
Ultimately, Pochettino probably didn’t want to distance himself from the hotseat in the same manner but he would have garnered far more respect by not going in front of the cameras and displayed a degree of allegiance with his current employers.
However, after what he did, this was confirmation, as if we needed it, that loyalty and football long since parted ways.
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10:00pm – Pochettino displays lack of loyalty
Stuart Appleby looks at why Mauricio Pochettino showed a real lack of allegiance to his current employers Tottenham by going on the record to declare his interest in the Real Madrid job.
Read it here.
7:00pm – Kovacic planning Los Blancos stay
Mateo Kovacic has no intention of leaving Real Madrid this summer, according to the Croatian star’s agent.
The Los Blancos central midfielder, who impressed against Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich in the Champions League, has struggled to hold down a place consistently in a high-class midfield containing Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Isco.
Read more here.
3:55pm – Zidane: Frenchman made immaculate call in leaving Real Madrid now
It was the right time for Zidane to leave on a high, writes Stuart Appleby.
2:36pm – Rafael Nadal hopes Zinedine Zidane returns to Real Madrid in the future
Celebrity Madridista Rafael Nadal paid tribute to Zinedine Zidane — who shocked the football world on Thursday by announcing he has resigned as Real Madrid coach — and hopes the Frenchman returns to the Spanish club in the future.
The Spanish world No. 1 admits that, like the rest of the world, he did not expect Thursday’s sudden news of Zidane’s departure.
1:25pm – Deschamps backs Zinedine Zidane to step into his role
France national team manager Didier Deschamps says former teammate Zinedine Zidane will follow in his footsteps “one day”.
Zidane announced his shock decision to resign from his role as Real Madrid manager on Thursday, and the player who led France to the 1998 World Cup trophy has previously been backed to take the reins of Les Blues.
Read what Deschamps had to say about Zidane here.
1:10pm – Zidane may be Madrid’s most successful manager of all-time
Nine trophies in less than three seasons. Wildly successful seems like an understatement. Is he already Madrid’s greatest ever manager?
Check out his ridiculous stats as Madrid boss.
9 - Zinedine Zidane picked up nine trophies in his two years and four months with Real Madrid, the most titles by a manager with the club since Miguel Muñoz won 14 trophies in 14 years (1960 - 1974). Galactico. pic.twitter.com/9h43EUoGb7— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) May 31, 2018
Mauricio Pochettino has admitted he would “have to listen” to any approach from Real Madrid.
Tottenham boss Pochettino has insisted he remains settled at Spurs having only signed a new five-year contract last month.
But the former Argentina defender has been installed as the bookies’ favourite to replace Zinedine Zidane at the Bernabeu, and has conceded it would be hard to ignore overtures from the 13-time European club champions.
After launching his book ‘A New World’ in Spain, Pochettino opened up on the possibility of Madrid’s interest in his services.
“When Real Madrid call you, you have to listen to them but it doesn’t depend on me,” Pochettino told Spanish newspaper El Confidencial.
“I’ve signed a contract and I’m very happy at Tottenham because they let me work and we’re growing together.
“Now I want to focus on planning for next season and keep out of all the speculation.”
Zidane explained his decision to leave Madrid less than a week after claiming a third Champions League title in a row as “time to go out at the top” in Thursday’s press conference.
Real’s LaLiga struggles, finishing third and 17 points behind fierce rivals Barcelona, no doubt factored in World Cup winner Zidane’s decision.
Pochettino quickly shot to the top of bookmakers’ lists for Zidane’s replacement, despite only signing that new deal with Spurs last week.
“I take it naturally, it does not affect me at all, I am involved in a spectacular project where the motivation is tremendous,” Pochettino told Spanish sports daily AS.
“I renewed my contract recently for another five years, I am happy that people at Tottenham are happy with me.
“I live in the present, that is the most important thing. I enjoy what is happening and what has to be will be.”
It is understood that there is no buy-out clause in Pochettino’s new Spurs deal, and no verbal agreement with chairman Daniel Levy that the 46-year-old could leave if Madrid come calling.
Zidane was understood to be under contract at Madrid until 2020, before quitting in the wake of guiding Real to their 3-1 Champions League final triumph over Liverpool.
Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, Italian Maurizio Sarri and Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp have all been linked to Madrid, alongside Pochettino.
Germany boss Joachim Low meanwhile has ruled himself out of the running to become the next Real manager.
Low told a Germany press conference: “I can completely rule it out. I’m sure they will find a strong successor but that is not for me to worry about.
“I am here with Germany in the World Cup now.”