Real Madrid may have replaced Rafa Benitez with Zinedine Zidane after the decision was made to sack the former Valencia, Liverpool and Chelsea manager, but it has now been revealed that Los Blancos actually approached Pep Guardiola first.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, Spanish football expert Graham Hunter explained, "It's a fact that six weeks ago they (Madrid) approached him and asked him 'would you take over?'."

Guardiola recently confirmed his intention to step down as manager of Bayern Munich at the end of the season. But several weeks earlier it seems that Real offered him the chance to take over at the Bernabeu in what would have been one of the most sensational managerial moves of all time.

The 44-year-old, who guided Barcelona to two Champions League crowns in four years between 2008 and 2012, unsurprisingly declined the invitation. Hunter, though, thinks it says an awful lot about his reputation as a coach.

FC Bayern Muenchen - Training Session

"That underlines the fact that Pep is seen as the best appointment by every single club," he said.

Hunter also thinks that the audacity of the approach reveals plenty about the people making the decisions at Real.

"It says something about Madrid that they could get it so vastly wrong, that one of the great anti-Madridistas since he was born was approached by them. 'You wouldn't fancy coming and fixing the enemy would you?'.

"That tells you something about Madrid, right or wrong."

Benitez was dismissed on Monday evening following a 2-2 draw with Valencia at the weekend and a run of three defeats in the last eight La Liga games.


Former Real boss John Toshack, who had two spells in the Bernabeu hotseat 10 years apart, felt that poor Rafa never stood a chance.

"Benitez was up against it right from the off," he told BBC Radio Wales Sport.

"Right from the minute he walked through the door something was not quite right. I don't think his face fitted. I think he'll be looking to take a bit of a rest season, probably until the end of this season and maybe look at something next pre-season."

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