Paulo Bento and Alberto Zaccheroni join battle to become UAE coach

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Next in line?: Paulo Bento (r) when at Olympiacos (Getty).

Former Portugal coach Paulo Bento and experienced ex-AC Milan tactician Alberto Zaccheroni have both registered interest in filling the vacant UAE post.

A three-man panel from the UAE Football Association are currently assessing options to replace Edgardo Bauza. The Argentine, 59, shockingly defected to World Cup 2018 qualifiers Saudi Arabia two weeks ago, after just three competitive ties.

Ex-Al Wahda and Mexico boss Javier Aguirre, Peru’s Ricardo Gareca and former-Germany and United States supremo Jurgen Klinsmann feature prominently in their thoughts. Yet this hasn’t stopped solicitations from elsewhere.

Bento, 48, boasts extensive international knowledge from his time in charge of Portugal from 2010-14 – a period which included a semi-final loss at Euro 2012 and group-stage exit at World Cup 2014. For 64-year-old Zaccheroni, he is available for work after a group-stage exit of his own with Japan at the global event three years ago and subsequent short spell at China’s Beijing Guoan.

Both candidates would accept a similar package to the $4 million deal agreed with Bauza and his staff in May up until the end of January 2019’s Asian Cup on home soil.

This is substantially less than the 5m (Dh21.8m) per annum desired by the unattached Klinsmann.

Bento is also without an employer because of an acrimonious exit from Olympiacos.

The 35-times-capped ex-defensive midfielder was dismissed in March despite the club being seven points clear at the top of the Greek Superleague, plus making the last 16 of the Europa League and semi-finals of the Greek Football Cup.

This followed criticism by him about the mental strength displayed by members of his squad.

Prior to his Portugal stint, he lifted four major trophies at Sporting Lisbon from 2005-09.

Mandated representative DNN Sport has offered Zaccheroni to the UAE. His biggest achievements have been winning the 1998/99 Serie A crown with Milan and 2011 Asian Cup with Japan.

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