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Lionel Messi's friend in the running for potential Real Madrid job.

Lionel Messi’s friend considered favorite to replace Carlo Ancelotti as Real Madrid head coach: Reports

Lionel Messi's friend Marcelo Gallardo is reportedly in contention to become Real Madrid's head coach in the event of manager Carlo Ancelotti's departure.

The Italian tactician could become Brazil's next head coach, with Tite resigning in December after the nation's quarter-final exit from the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Ancelotti's contract at the Santiago Bernabeu expires at the end of next season.


However, there is a strong chance that the former AC Milan manager will part ways with Real Madrid in the summer. Brazilian FA (CBF) president Ednaldo Rodrigues has explicitly confirmed that Ancelotti is the favorite to replace interim boss Ramon Menezes at the helm.

According to Argentine outlet Ole (h/t El Nacional), Gallardo is one of the candidates who could become Real Madrid's next head coach. He managed Nacional during the 2011-12 season before joining River Plate as their manager in the summer of 2014.

Gallardo took charge of 424 games for Los Millonarios over a period of eight and a half years until his exit in December 2022. The two-time Copa Libertadores-winning manager, who was adjudged the fifth-best coach worldwide in 2015 by IFFHS, has since been on the free market.

The 47-year-old was an attacking midfielder during his playing days and scored 14 times in 44 senior caps for Argentina. His most notable spell as a player in Europe came at AS Monaco, with whom he won the 1999-00 league title.

Argentina's Lionel Messi.

Gallardo will reportedly face competition from Mauricio Pochettino, Xabi Alonso, Raul Gonzalez, and Jose Mourinho. A third spell as Real Madrid manager for Zinedine Zidane has been touted while recently-sacked Julian Nagelsmann is also a contender.

Lionel Messi and Real Madrid target Marcelo Gallardo shared heartwarming moment during friendly in January

Marcelo Gallardo lined up as Riyadh All-Star XI's coach when they faced Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) in an exhibition match on 19 January in Riyadh.

Lionel Messi started the game for Les Parisiens and opened the scoring in the third minute. He was withdrawn around the hour mark with the score at 4-3 in the visitors' favor.


After exiting the pitch, Messi was seen walking towards the opposition dugout and embracing Gallardo, who dedicated a few words to the 2022 FIFA World Cup winner (h/t BeSoccer). PSG went on to win the game 5-4, with Cristiano Ronaldo's brace not enough to prevent the hosts from losing.

Gallardo's previous meeting with Messi as an opponent carried a bit more significance than the friendly in Riyadh. River Plate met Barcelona in the final of the 2015 FIFA Club World Cup.

Lionel Messi opened the scoring before Luis Suarez added a brace to secure a 3-0 win at the Nissan Stadium for the Catalan giants.

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Edited by
Aniket Rai
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