Real Madrid "make Jurgen Klopp their number one target"
Klopp is now Real's 'preferred choice.'
Real Madrid are reportedly targeting Jurgen Klopp as their next manager, with the Liverpool boss said to be topping a shortlist which also features Mauricio Pochettino and Juventus' Max Allegri.
Real's shock defeat to Ajax in the second leg of their Champions League last 16 tie on Tuesday night and the fact they are 12 points off Barcelona in LaLiga means the club face a trophy-less end to the season. Because of this, the deposed European champions are said to be ramping up their efforts to find a new manager to take over from Santiago Solari at the end of the season.
According to Miguel Delaney in the Independent, senior figures at the Bernabeu are keen to appoint a boss who brings back 'excitement and happiness' and does not hold any bad relationships with the club's current playing staff. This points towards an approach for Klopp, who the report says has impressed Florentino Perez with his work at Anfield since taking the Liverpool job in 2015.
Understandably, prising the German away from Merseyside is expected to be difficult - especially when considering he has rejected Madrid's advances in the past. Despite this, Los Blancos are thought to be determined for a fresh start, even if that does mean launching an ambitious move to land Klopp or Pochettino.
Jose Mourinho, who previously managed Madrid before returning to England with Chelsea in 2013, has also been mentioned in relation to the position. Though the way in which he left the club and his struggles at Manchester United might cast doubt on him being re-appointed, his good relationship with Perez means he cannot be fully ruled out.
Ajax's 4-1 win in the Bernabeu on Tuesday saw Real Madrid crash out of the Champions League for the first time since their semi-final defeat to Juventus in 2015.