Ex-Real Madrid boss Solari eager for coaching return

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Former Real Madrid coach Santiago Solari is keen to put his bittersweet experience in the Santiago Bernabeu hotseat behind him and return to the bench in one of Europe's "big leagues". 

Solari was called up from the Castilla feeder team in 2018 to replace Julen Lopetegui after the ex-Spain man was relieved of his duties less than three months into his tenure. 

But while the Argentine delivered Club World Cup success for the Merengue, he failed to convince those in charge he was the right man for the job and by March found himself replaced by Zinedine Zidane in Madrid's second coaching change of the 2018-19 season.

Out of work since that dismissal, Solari insists he bears no grudges with the club he represented as both player and trainer, while signalling his intention to return to the fold.

"Resentment against Madrid? That is a private matter," he told BBC Sport. "That's football. It was an honour to serve Real Madrid.

"I would like to coach in Europe, in a serious project in one of the big leagues.

"I saw the Premier League last year and how it grew so much. It was a fantastic campaign for the English teams. There are so many different cultures as well - you have Spanish coaches, German coaches, English coaches, coaches from all over the world who have made it grow.

"The type of football I like is when the team is the protagonist, offensive football, high tempo and aggressive but in order to achieve that you have to defend high, have fast transitions, and of course talent is a big part of that.

"The statistics in the Premier League are amazing and confirm things are changing. Fifteen years ago there were just three games where one team averaged 70 per cent of possession. Three years ago that went up to 30 games. Two years ago it was 60 games and last year there were 67 games in which one team had 70% of possession."

Mauricio Pochettino Tottenham 2019-20

Solari's compatriot Mauricio Pochettino is one Argentine who has forged a fine reputation as a coach in English football, achieving success with both Southampton and Tottenham since moving to the Premier League.

"I am not friends with him but I know him and I admire him and what he has done last year and the year before," Solari said of Pochettino.

"It didn't just happen that he got to the final of the Champions League - it was something that was growing over four or five years."

But the former Madrid man hesitates at comparison between the Spurs boss and Pep Guardiola.

"I don't think we can put them in the same package," he added.

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"They have coached different teams. I would like to see Pochettino with one of the really big teams soon because he deserves the opportunity.

"On the other hand Pep has only ever worked with top teams. He delivered in Spain, he delivered in Germany and he delivered in England. We'll see now what his next step will be.

"But they are both top coaches and I have nothing but respect and admiration."