Conte reveals he was 'very close' to becoming Real Madrid boss TWICE

Antonio Conte reveals he was ‘very close’ to becoming Real Madrid boss TWICE but didn’t want to join midway through a season… and he takes his Inter Milan side to the Spanish capital tonight

  • Antonio Conte has revealed he could have been in the Real Madrid dugout
  • But he did not say when the approaches to manage Real took place
  • The teams occupy the bottom two positions in their Champions League group
  • Inter are struggling in Serie A while Real are one point off La Liga’s summit

Antonio Conte has revealed he has twice been approached about becoming Real Madrid manager as he prepares to take his Inter Milan side to the unfamiliar Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano for a crucial Champions League clash, with the Bernabeu temporarily out of action as it undergoes modernisation.

In an unpredictable group, Inter and Real occupy third and fourth place respectively, with Borussia Monchengladbach on two points (the same as Conte’s men) and Shakhtar Donetsk sitting top on four.

There is a lot on the line this evening, and in the build-up Conte admitted that he could have been in the dugout for the opposition. 

Antonio Conte revealed that he has twice been approached to become Real Madrid manager

‘I’m focused on Inter and I’m excited,’ Conte said at the pre-match press conference. ‘We’re creating something important.

‘The opportunity [to coach Real Madrid] was given, but the situation wasn’t ripe. I appreciate it.

‘I was very close a couple of times, but I thought, the season had already started and it would have been complicated. I explained that when they called me.’ 

Conte has enjoyed a star-studded managerial career, having managed Juventus, the Italian national team, Chelsea and Inter in the last nine years. 

He lifted five trophies with the Old Lady including three Serie A titles and won a Premier League and FA Cup at Stamford Bridge, while also clinching the Serie B crown with Bari in the 2008-09 season. 

Eden Hazard scores his first Real Madrid goal in more than a year to make it 1-0 against Huesca

Inter come into the match off the back of a frustrating 2-2 draw at home to Parma in Serie A, with Marcelo Brozovic and Ivan Perisic rescuing a draw for the hosts after a Gervinho double had put Parma 2-0 up. They are sixth, five points behind leaders and city rivals AC Milan. 

Real meanwhile moved second in La Liga, one point behind leaders Real Sociedad with a game in hand, after disposing of struggling Huesca 4-1, with Eden Hazard netting his first goal for Los Blancos in more than a year.

Real’s last Champions League outing saw Casemiro score a 93rd-minute leveller to make it 2-2

Conte won’t take Real lightly despite their struggles in this competition so far – the Spaniards suffered an embarrassing 3-2 home reverse at the hands of a depleted Shakhtar before scoring two late goals to snatch a dramatic 2-2 draw at Monchengladbach. 

‘In each game we need to grab points, to win,’ added Conte. ‘There are situations in which by the strength of the opponent you measure yourself against teams, like this one, built to win the Champions League.

‘There’s no team like Real Madrid. It’s not a walk. We’ll go out to suffer and we are prepared for it. We are not going to get into a corner to receive blows. We are going to face them without fear, as always.’

Romelu Lukaku tore a muscle against Shakhtar Donetsk and looks set to miss tonight’s match

Romelu Lukaku is likely to miss the encounter against the Spanish champions after tearing an abductor muscle against Shakhtar Donetsk last week and consequently missing the game against Parma. His chances of making the matchday squad seem slim after he didn’t train with the team on Monday, according to Marca. 

However, Conte may be able to call on Alexis Sanchez after the Chilean had been injured himself, while Milan Skriniar is also available for selection after contracting Covid-19. 

Eder Militao is the only player missing from Real’s squad tonight after he also contracted the virus. 

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