Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettinos apparent joke about where his team would stay in Madrid for the Champions League final appears to have backfired – and prompted Real Madrid to release an official statement.
The Argentine, who has been linked with a move to the Bernabeu in the past, was discussing Spurs plans for the final against Liverpool at Atletico Madrids Wanda Metropolitano Stadium on 1 June.
“Ahead of the final, we will train at Valdebebas [Reals training complex] and sleep in a nearby hotel,” he told El Partidazo de Cope.
“I asked Florentino [Perez, Reals president] to let us sleep in the sports centre, but he told me that I can only sleep there when I become the coach of Real Madrid.”
Read more In a response to the Spanish radio sports podcast El Partidazo de Cope, Pochettino had said the Real Madrid president, Florentino Pérez, turned down a request to let the squad sleep at Real Madrids sports centre. I asked Florentino to let us sleep in the sports centre but he told me that I can only sleep there when I become the coach of Real Madrid, he said.
Cue a “Comunicado Oficial” from the 13-time European champions, who re-appointed manager Zinedine Zidane in March.
Real said they were “surprised by the demonstrations” made by Pochettino about a “supposed request” to stay at their training ground.
“Real Madrid wants to make it clear that it is outright false that this request was produced,” they said.
In the same way that Tottenham are insistent on their refusal to sell Harry Kane when Real Madrid came calling, the Spaniards have done the same with Spurs. The Londoners thought that his poor season in the Spanish capital meant they had a goof chance of signing him.
They said they had “always shown its absolute availability” to meet the requests of Uefa, Spurs and Liverpool and requests were only for “the use of the training camps of the Ciudad Real Madrid and its changing rooms”.
While they are preparing for the Champions League final against Liverpool on 1st June, Mauricio Pochettino has given the club a list of targets for the summer transfer window and Marco Asensios name was on that list.
Tottenham will be training at Real on 30 and 31 May and Liverpool will use the facilities on the morning of 1 June.
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“At no time has our club been requested that these teams could be accommodated in the facilities of Ciudad Real Madrid,” they added.
Pochettino, who has four years left on his contract, has previously hinted he could leave Spurs if they win the European Cup.
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He has also said he would be “stupid” to stay at the club if they expect similar levels of success without changing the way they are run – having not signed a player since 31 January 2018.
But he told the Spanish radio show: “I will not make decisions about my future [until] after the final, it is important to know what the clubs future plan is.
“Real Madrid? I have no other goals if I am not training Tottenham; football takes you where you deserve.”
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Spurs manager tells talkSPORT his side will go to Madrid full of belief they can lift the European Cup for the first time
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has hinted Harry Kane could be fit enough to start on the bench for their Champions League final against Liverpool.
And he has tipped the England captain to play a decisive role in their all-English clash in Madrid, even if he does not make his starting XI.
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Kane is facing a race to be fit for the May 1 showdown in Spain after suffering an ankle injury six weeks ago, missing nine games in all competitions.
A statement from the La Liga club said: "Real Madrid is surprised by the demonstrations made by the coach of Tottenham Hotspur, Mauricio Pochettino, about a supposed request made to our club so that his team could stay in the residence of Ciudad Real Madrid on the occasion of the final of the Champions League.
Fans were encouraged to see the striker running again as he joined in the celebrations after watching his team-mates stunning semi-final comeback against Ajax.
But the striker has only just returned to first-team training and, speaking exclusively to talkSPORT, Pochettino remained coy on whether Kane would be involved or not.
"Real Madrid wants to make it clear that it is outright false that this request was produced. Our club has always shown its absolute availability to meet all the requests made by Uefa, the Royal Spanish Football Federation, Atletico Madrid, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur."
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However, the Argentine did hint that he could be Spurs secret weapon off the bench against Jurgen Klopps Reds.
His evolution is very good, this week he is so close to start working with the group again, but still we cannot say anything about if hes going to be available or not.
But you can start the game and not be important, and you can come from the bench and still be the important player, the decisive player. The game can be 90 minutes or 120 minutes with penalties.
Spurs go into the final having already lost twice, both home and away, against Liverpool in the Premier League this season.
The Premier League side contacted Real Madrid earlier this week in an effort to start talks to take the 23-year-old to north London. But, according to Spanish daily AS, Real Madrid's general manager Jose Angel Sanchez was clear with Tottenham.
But Pochettino insists his team are confident they can see off the league runners-up and lift the European Cup for the first time in the north London clubs history.
Its a final, so its going to be a completely different game to the games in the Premier League, added the Argentine.
By the way, in the last game we played at Anfield we deserved much more, and that gives us the belief we can beat them.
Watch a clip of talkSPORTs chat with Mauricio Pochettino below, and tune into The Season Ticket from 7pm to hear the interview IN FULL