Mauricio Pochettino has been sacked by Tottenham after their frustrating start to the Premier League season, though the Argentinian will seemingly have no shortage of potential suitors.

Pochettino led Spurs to four successive top-four finishes in the league and also oversaw a memorable charge to the Champions League final last season.

Tottenham went down 2-0 to Liverpool in Madrid, however, and with 12 games played in the top flight this term, they sit 14th, having won just three times. They also suffered a humiliating 7-2 home defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League last month.

Despite Spurs opting to make a change, Pochettino is still widely regarded as one of the most sought-after coaches in Europe.

We look at the teams most likely to come calling for his services.

MANCHESTER UNITED

After sacking Jose Mourinho in December 2018, Manchester United were heavily linked with Pochettino, but instead appointed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

However, since Solskjaer - who was initially handed an interim role at Old Trafford - took permanent charge in March, United's form has been inconsistent to say the least.

The Red Devils have managed just six Premier League victories since Solskjaer was named as their full-time boss and they sit just two points above Spurs in the table.

With a squad still in the midst of an apparent overhaul, United may well now rekindle their interest. Given Pochettino's Premier League experience, Solskjaer could feel the pressure should results not pick up.

REAL MADRID

Real Madrid have also been consistently touted to hold a major interest in Pochettino, with Los Blancos having endured a difficult season in 2018-19 after Zinedine Zidane elected to leave on the back of winning a third straight Champions League.

Zidane returned to the Santiago Bernabeu in March, of course, after a miserable stint from Julen Lopetegui and underwhelming performances under Santiago Solari.

Without Cristiano Ronaldo to call on, Zidane has not had quite the impact as he had during his first spell in charge, though Madrid do sit level on points with LaLiag leaders Barcelona.

Madrid would be able to offer the riches and resources Tottenham never could for Pochettino, but will they oust a club legend to bring him in?

BAYERN MUNICH

Bundesliga champions Bayern were ruthless in their decision to axe Niko Kovac earlier in November and are now on the hunt for a permanent replacement.

Interim coach Hansi Flick has won both of his matches in temporary charge - 2-0 against Olympiacos and 4-0 over Borussia Dortmund - but Bayern might be tempted by the opportunity to appoint a coach with the pedigree of Pochettino.

Like Madrid, Bayern could offer Pochettino plenty of money to spend in the transfer market, though there would also be the added expectation of silverware not only on the domestic front, but also in Europe.

BARCELONA

Citing his loyalty to Espanyol, Pochettino has previously claimed he would not wish to coach Barca - not to mention Lionel Messi. However, should the Catalan giants come calling, it may be difficult for Pochettino to turn down the opportunity to take the helm at Camp Nou.

Ernesto Valverde appeared to be on the brink of losing his job following last season's Champions League capitulation and defeat in the Copa del Rey final.

With Barca stuttering in both LaLiga and the Champions League so far this term, Valverde - who does not seem to be too popular with the club's fanbase - could well be on borrowed time now Pochettino is available.

ARGENTINA

Pochettino may wish to remain in club management for a while longer before moving into international coaching, but the draw of leading his nation towards the 2022 World Cup may be enough to tempt the 47-year-old.

Lionel Scaloni is currently in charge of the Argentina national team, taking the side to a third-place finish in this year's Copa America, though performances have remained inconsistent, with too great a reliance on Messi.

With the Barca forward surely set to feature in his final World Cup – should he play at all – in Qatar, Pochettino may relish the chance to take his country back to the pinnacle of international football.

Lionel Scaloni is satisfied with Argentina's progress after a friendly draw against Uruguay on Monday.

Argentina came from behind twice to secure a 2-2 draw in Tel Aviv, where Lionel Messi's stoppage-time penalty cancelled out Luis Suarez's goal after Edinson Cavani and Sergio Aguero had struck earlier.

It extended Argentina's unbeaten run to seven matches as they continued preparations for 2022 World Cup qualifying, which begins next year.

Scaloni is pleased with Argentina's development, although the coach still sees room for improvement.

"At the level of results, we are fine. At the level of the game, it can be improved," he said, via Ole.

"The team feeling is the best we have. The important thing is that the players who play do it well. Some make a difference and others support."

Scaloni acknowledged the challenge awaiting his team, describing the CONMEBOL qualifiers as the toughest in the world.

"Now we have to think about what we did well and what we can correct. What is coming is difficult," he said.

"I spoke with people from Uruguay. It will be difficult in the qualifiers. Those in South America are the most difficult in the world.

"We have a good base."

Lionel Messi scored a stoppage-time penalty to secure Argentina an entertaining 2-2 draw with Uruguay in Tel Aviv on Monday.

Argentina fell behind when Edinson Cavani, who scored in Uruguay's 2-1 win over Hungary on Friday, notched his 50th international goal in the 34th minute.

That lead was cancelled out when Sergio Aguero headed home a set-piece delivery from Messi, before Luis Suarez restored La Celeste's advantage five minutes later with a superb free-kick.

Messi missed a penalty and scored on the rebound in a 1-0 win over Brazil three days ago, but he made no mistake from the spot on this occasion and clinched the draw in the 92nd minute.

Lionel Messi was delighted with Argentina's win over Brazil, saying the rivalry between the South American nations was stronger than ever.

On his international return, Messi scored the only goal of the game in Riyadh as Argentina recorded a 1-0 friendly win.

The star tapped in a rebound after his penalty was saved by Alisson, while Gabriel Jesus earlier put a spot-kick wide for Brazil.

The win over Brazil was Argentina's first against their rivals since 2017 and Messi talked up the significance.

"The rivalry is lived more than ever and it is always good to beat Brazil," he said, via Ole.

"When you win, you work better. The ideas of the coach are carried out on the pitch in another way and it is positive for what is coming."

Argentina face Uruguay in another friendly on Monday as they continue preparations for the start of the gruelling CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying beginning in March next year.

Messi praised the defensive efforts of Lionel Scaloni's side, who stretched their unbeaten run to six games.

"There is little left for the qualifiers. There is a good team feeling," the Barcelona star said.

"On the defensive level we made a big effort."

Brazil head coach Tite said he was told to shut up by Argentina captain Lionel Messi in the friendly clash between the South American rivals.

Messi returned from a three-month international ban to lead Argentina past Brazil 1-0 thanks to his 13th-minute goal in Riyadh on Friday.

Argentina star Messi missed Argentina's previous four matches due to a suspension for accusing CONMEBOL of favouring hosts Brazil – who won their semi-final meeting – at the Copa America and he was in the thick of the action against Tite's Selecao.

Messi and Tite exchanged words in the opening half, with the Barcelona superstar seen putting his fingers to his lips as the Brazil boss complained to the referee.

"I complained because he [Messi] should have been shown a yellow card and he told me to shut my mouth and I told him to shut his mouth," Tite said. "And that was it."

Tite added: "I don't want to answer anymore on it. You need a strong referee because he'll swallow you… It should have been a card, I was right to complain."

Messi's goal condemned Brazil – who have struggled since lifting the Copa America trophy – to their fifth consecutive match without victory.

Tite accepted Brazil were under pressure after their winless run continued with a 1-0 loss to rivals Argentina in a friendly on Friday.

Lionel Messi scored the game's only goal on his return to the Argentina team in Riyadh, converting a rebound after Alisson saved his penalty in the 13th minute.

Gabriel Jesus had earlier put a penalty wide for Brazil, who are winless in five games since lifting the Copa America in July.

Tite said there was pressure on Brazil – who face South Korea in another friendly on Tuesday – amid their poor run of results.

"There is a need for the result, yes. There are moments of pressure and this is one," Tite told a news conference.

"The way we are going to look is carefully, but the need for the result occurs, even at a time of preparation."

Brazil were without the injured Neymar, and they are feeling the absence of the Paris Saint-Germain star.

Tite's side have scored just four goals in their past five games and the coach lamented Brazil's inability to take their chances.

"Translating opportunities into goals is key, and I also speak of the penalty," he said.

Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni lauded the attitude of his players who he feels "gave their lives for the shirt" in Friday's 1-0 win over bitter rivals Brazil.

Lionel Messi was back in the team for the first time since the Copa America after serving a four-match ban for accusing CONMEBOL of corruption.

He scored the decisive goal early on when pouncing on the rebound after seeing Alisson save his penalty a few moments after Gabriel Jesus had also failed to convert from 12 yards.

Otherwise it was a scrappy and disjointed affair, though Argentina looked considerably more threatening in the final third and were unfortunate to not add to the score in the second half.

Despite Argentina's wastefulness after the interval, Scaloni was left overjoyed with the mentality and attitude of his team.

"I liked the second half," Scaloni told reporters. "We made changes because we wanted to test for what is to come.

"The team responded – it goes beyond who plays. They give their lives for the shirt and really played well."

Argentina remain unbeaten in their five post-Copa America matches, while Brazil – who have also played five times since lifting the trophy – are winless in that period.

Lionel Messi scored on his return from a three-month ban as Argentina beat bitter rivals Brazil 1-0 in Riyadh on Friday.

Messi missed Argentina's previous four matches due to a suspension for accusing CONMEBOL of favouring hosts Brazil – who won their semi-final meeting – at the Copa America and he made a decisive impact in the friendly, billed as the Superclasico de las Americas, as the Selecao's winless streak reached five games.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner earned Argentina an early penalty and netted at the second time of asking after Gabriel Jesus had also spurned an opportunity from 12 yards.

Another couple of chances were crafted for Messi, but he failed to add to his tally and the match became extremely scrappy and disjointed after the break, with clear-cut chances at a premium.

A ferocious start saw both sides awarded a penalty inside the first 12 minutes and remarkably neither of them were scored, with Jesus missing the target after being tripped by Leandro Paredes, before Messi had his saved by Alisson.

But luckily for Argentina and the returning Messi, Alisson put the ball right back into the danger zone and the Barcelona star buried the rebound.

Messi went close to a second in rather more characteristic fashion, as he dribbled from inside his own half and got a shot away from the edge of the box, but his effort was a little tame and Alisson stopped it easily.

The second half was significantly untidier, though Argentina still looked more threatening, with Messi's long-range free-kick forcing Alisson to tip it over.

Lautaro Martinez should have wrapped things up 10 minutes from time when he blazed over inside the area, though Brazil – who handed Rodrygo Goes and Wesley debuts from the bench – were unable to punish the let-off and Argentina claimed victory.

 

What does it mean? Issues remain for incoherent Brazil

Since winning the Copa America, Brazil have been thoroughly underwhelming. With Friday's defeat, they have not won any of their five matches since lifting the trophy in July.

The most alarming element of the Selecao's performance was the anonymity of their attackers. Jesus struggled, Roberto Firmino offered precious little and Willian's impact amounted to little more than a couple of mazy runs that came to nothing.

Alisson one of few to match expectations

It was one of those games where there were not many standout performances to choose from. Alisson at least performed as well as one might expect, saving Messi's penalty – albeit parrying it straight back to him – and producing seven stops in total.

Jesus struggles to impose himself

Although he won Brazil's penalty, there was little to be impressed about in Jesus' display. He failed to hit the target with his spot-kick, while he was unable to make much of an impact up against Nicolas Otamendi and German Pezzella.

What's next?

It is on to Abu Dhabi next for Brazil, as they face South Korea on Tuesday. Argentina are scheduled to be in action against Uruguay in Tel Aviv, Israel the day before. However, La Celeste are yet to confirm their participation after a recent escalation in tension in nearby Gaza.

Lionel Messi was restored to Argentina's starting XI to face Brazil upon his return from a three-month suspension.

Messi has not played for Argentina since being sent off in the Copa America third-place play-off against Chile in July.

It was the Barcelona superstar's post-match outburst after the semi-final defeat to Brazil that resulted in his suspension, however, as he accused CONMEBOL of corruption and favouring Tite's Copa America hosts.

That earned him a lengthy ban and a $50,000 fine, with Messi missing games against Chile, Mexico, Germany and Ecuador.

But having been included in the squad once again, Messi was straight back into the starting XI for the contest in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Joining him in attack was Lautaro Martinez – passed fit after sustaining a head injury with Inter at the weekend – while Sergio Aguero, who like Messi has not featured for Argentina since the Copa America, was on the bench.

There were few surprises in the Brazil starting XI, with Roberto Firmino, Willian and Gabriel Jesus forming the attack in the absence of the injured Neymar.

Real Madrid winger Rodrygo Goes could earn his first cap from the bench.

 

Brazil boss Tite lauded Rodrygo for setting a strong example to aspiring footballers ahead of the teenager's potential international debut.

The 18-year-old Real Madrid forward could win his first senior cap when Brazil face old rivals Argentina in Saudi Arabia on Friday.

Rodrygo was called-up after winning his maiden competitive start for Madrid and pressed his case for minutes with a sparkling hat-trick in the club's recent 6-0 hammering of Galatasaray.

The scene-stealing treble made him the second youngest player, behind Los Blancos great Raul, to score three times in a Champions League match.

But the exciting Santos product has made a positive impression on Tite beyond his footballing ability.

"I talked to him and said he had to be very proud of his behaviour. As a person, as an example," Tite said.

"I asked him to give a hug to his parents for the education they gave. Say thanks to Jair Ventura, the coach who launched him. He is an example for a lot of young boys who would like to be in his position.

"He must think I am a little crazy, because I was talking and I do not know him, this is our first meeting.

"But I saw that when he scored the first goal [against Galatasaray] he went to hug [Karim] Benzema, who assisted. When he completed the hat-trick, I saw the television camera was focusing on him and he didn't look at the camera. He took the ball and kissed it and stood there.

"He becomes an example for a number of boys. Football is a transformation agent, both for good and for bad. He's like that, and I ended up telling him to hug his parents. I don't know them, but they deserve it."

Brazil's date with Argentina could also mark the return of Lionel Messi, who has not featured for the Albiceleste since the Copa America.

Messi was effectively shackled by Brazil as they prevailed 2-0 in the semi-finals of that tournament, but Tite remains wary of the Barcelona captain.

"He is a different player, he has impressive technical qualities,” the Selecao coach said.

"We have different strategies. We never neutralise such a player, we reduce the qualities. But football is an essentially collective sport.

"A strong collective will improve a Neymar, Coutinho, Firmino, Willian, Otamendi, Messi, Aguero.

"We know that the group improves the individual. Of course, we are dealing with Messi. He is a distinct player."

Argentina head coach Lionel Scaloni says Mauro Icardi remains part of his plans and he will consider recalling the Paris Saint-Germain striker if he can maintain his goalscoring form. 

Icardi has not featured for Argentina since scoring in last November’s 2-1 friendly win against Mexico and is not part of their latest squad for the friendlies with Brazil and Uruguay. 

The 26-year-old was overlooked for Copa America selection earlier this year after a turbulent campaign with Inter that saw him stripped of the captaincy amid a breakdown in contract talks. 

However, Icardi has scored nine goals in 10 matches since joining PSG on loan in September and is knocking on the door for a return to the international stage. 

"He is a player we have in mind," Scaloni said at a news conference ahead of Friday's friendly with Brazil in Saudi Arabia. 

"He is playing again, picking up pace after not playing at the end of last season. 

"He is on our agenda, and not because other strikers are not doing well. At any time he can return. The doors are always open for the best."

Lionel Messi is back in Argentina's squad for their friendly double-header after serving a three-month suspension for accusing CONMEBOL officials of corruption following his side's semi-final loss to Brazil at the Copa America.

South American champions Brazil will be without Neymar for the high-profile friendly, however, as the PSG forward is yet to fully recover from a hamstring injury sustained on international duty last month.

"Having Messi is always a positive," Scaloni said. "I would have liked Neymar to be involved, too.

"For us it is a joy to have Leo because he is a big part of the group and gets along with all his team-mates. He is a player who has marked an era in football."

Brazil captain Thiago Silva is not concerned about coming up against Lionel Messi in Friday's clash with bitter rivals Argentina, rather seeing it as a source of pride to take on the Barcelona superstar.

Messi is back in the Argentina squad for the first time since the Copa America, where Brazil beat Argentina 2-0 in July's semi-final.

After that controversial encounter, Messi accused CONMEBOL of corruption, earning a four-match ban and a $50,000 fine.

Messi is expected to make his return during the friendly clash in Saudi Arabia, and Silva prefers not to look at the situation with fear, instead relishing facing one of the best.

"We are not concerned but proud to have a chance to face him," Silva told reporters on Monday.

"They [Argentina] have their star, we won't have ours [Neymar, who is injured], but Brazil is Brazil, and we showed it during our Copa America win.

"They are living a different moment, as are we when you consider the last few matches. Brazil versus Argentina is always a great game, with great football and scoring chances.

"There's a 50:50 winning chance for each side - let's hope we are more inspired then than they are."

Brazil winger Willian added: "He [Messi] is a great player, unmatched, the best in the world. We've faced Argentina when he played before, and this will be just like those times.

"There must be more attention on him, we must restrict his spaces. We'll not man-mark him, but whoever is around him must close down the spaces, not leave him room to think."

Real Madrid youngster Rodrygo Goes is in line to earn his first senior cap at the tender age of 18 after breaking into the first team at the Santiago Bernabeu.

The wide attacker has already scored five goals in just six matches for Madrid, and Silva has been impressed, even suggesting he hopes Zinedine Zidane leaves the teenager out when Paris Saint-Germain take on the LaLiga giants in the Champions League later this month.

"The fact he's with the Selecao is a unique opportunity, he surely has dreamt about this moment," the PSG defender said of Rodrygo. "I hope he can enjoy it the best way possible.

"I have over 100 caps and every time I'm here, I feel the chills. I hope he has the wisdom to make the most of it.

"It's surprising really to most people, an 18-year-old with loads of personality. You see for the way he scores goals how calm and reserved this kid is, he's not doing it to show off.

"Let's hope Zidane keeps him on the bench! He's a player who'll demand more attention from your side. His quality speaks for itself."

Argentina pair Marcos Rojo and Roberto Pereyra have been ruled out of the country's international friendlies against Brazil and Uruguay.

As Lionel Messi prepares to make his comeback following a three-month suspension, Argentina defender Rojo and midfielder Pereyra have withdrawn from Lionel Scaloni's squad.

Rojo was ruled out following Manchester United's 3-1 Premier League win over Brighton and Hove Albion on Sunday in which he appeared at Old Trafford, while Watford's Pereyra succumbed to a hamstring injury.

Argentina have drafted in Boca Juniors' Alexis Mac Allister for Friday's showdown with South American rivals Brazil in Saudi Arabia and the November 18 fixture against Uruguay in Tel Aviv.

Messi is back in the squad after the Barcelona and Argentina captain was banned by CONMEBOL in August and fined $50,000 for accusing the governing body of corruption following his side's semi-final loss to Brazil at the Copa America.

The 32-year-old has missed Argentina's past four matches – all friendlies – which has seen the country rout Ecuador (6-1) and Mexico (4-0), and draw with Chile (0-0) and Germany (2-2).

South Africa made history on Saturday after beating England 32-12 in the Rugby World Cup final.

The Springboks had already lifted one trophy this year after winning the Rugby Championship in August, and, in Yokohama, Rassie Erasmus' team achieved something that had eluded rivals New Zealand and Australia in the past.

In the previous five years when there has been both a Rugby Championship – or its previous incarnation the Tri Nations – and a World Cup, the winners of the first tournament had subsequently failed to also deliver success on the global stage.

South Africa succeeded where these teams failed...
 

1999: TRI NATIONS WINNERS – NEW ZEALAND, WORLD CUP WINNERS – AUSTRALIA

The All Blacks won the first two Tri Nations and made it three in four years by thrashing South Africa 28-0, beating Australia 34-15 and claiming another victory over the Springboks.

However, a 28-7 loss to the Wallabies in the final fixture suggested New Zealand were not so invincible...

At the World Cup, the great Jonah Lomu scored eight tries yet France stunned New Zealand 43-31 in the last four, with Australia then winning the final against Les Bleus.

2003: TRI NATIONS WINNERS – NEW ZEALAND, WORLD CUP WINNERS – ENGLAND

Four wins out of four delivered another Tri Nations triumph for New Zealand.

The All Blacks scored 282 points in their four World Cup pool games in Australia too before easing past South Africa 29-9 in the quarter-finals.

But Elton Flatley's accuracy from the tee consigned New Zealand to another semi-final loss and sent Australia back to the final, where Jonny Wilkinson's drop goal in Sydney delivered a famous success for England.

2007: TRI NATIONS WINNERS – NEW ZEALAND, WORLD CUP WINNERS – SOUTH AFRICA

Neither Australia nor South Africa could deny the All Blacks another Tri Nations title in 2007, though it was a Northern Hemisphere nation who would stop their run at the World Cup.

New Zealand led 13-3 in the first half of their quarter-final against France only to suffer another knockout loss to their World Cup nemesis as Yannick Jauzion scored a brilliant converted try 11 minutes from time to seal a 20-18 success.

Defending champions England beat France in the semi-final but Percy Montgomery won the battle of the boots with Wilkinson in the final as South Africa secured their second World Cup.

2011: TRI NATIONS WINNERS – AUSTRALIA, WORLD CUP WINNERS – NEW ZEALAND

In the final Tri Nations before Argentina joined to form the Rugby Championship, Graham Henry's team lost their last two matches as Australia triumphed for the first time in a decade.

The World Cup was hosted in New Zealand and after years of being the nearly men, it was the All Blacks' turn to taste global glory again.

France were their final opponents and, in a tense, low-scoring contest, New Zealand won 8-7.

2015: RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP WINNERS – AUSTRALIA, WORLD CUP WINNERS – NEW ZEALAND

Four years ago, Australia beat the other three nations to win the Rugby Championship, and came out on top of a World Cup pool that included Wales and hosts England.

The Wallabies narrowly saw off Scotland 35-34 and ousted Argentina 29-15 to set up a final with a New Zealand side that had hammered France 62-13 in the last eight.

No team had ever retained the World Cup before but Dan Carter shone on his international farewell to ensure Steve Hansen's side lifted the Webb Ellis Cup again.

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde does not see Lionel Messi's recall to the Argentina national team as a setback to the LaLiga giants.

Messi was banned and fined $50,000 by CONMEBOL in August for accusing the governing body of corruption in the wake of Argentina's Copa America semi-final defeat to hosts Brazil.

The Barca talisman has missed Argentina's past four matches – all friendlies – as a result, but he was named in their latest squad on Thursday for upcoming matches against Brazil and Uruguay.

Those games will be played this month in Saudi Arabia and Israel, respectively.

Messi has suffered with injury problems this term, leading to some suggesting his return to the Argentina set-up could be a negative development for Barcelona.

Although Valverde's tone seemed to a suggest a hint of frustration, he refused to outright call Messi's call-up a problem.

"Look, we know that if Messi is active, there's a good chance he gets called up to the national team," Valverde told reporters on Friday.

"He hasn't been [in the Argentina squad] because of suspension, but now that's over it's normal for him to be back for Argentina.

"It's something we accept, he accepts. I don't think it's a setback as such."

Defender Samuel Umtiti has endured a wretched time with injuries over the past 18 months, playing just 15 LaLiga matches since the start of last season.

His solitary outing this term against Eibar last month was followed by another knee injury, though Valverde hinted he could potentially feature at Levante on Saturday.

"Let's see how he does in training today [Friday]," Valverde said. "He's had fitness issues hanging over from last year, that's why he's not playing regularly.

"Hopefully we can get this sorted once and for all so he can play more regularly, but the other thing is competition for places. Lenglet is playing very well.

"He [Lenglet] is an absolutely reliable player, very professional in what he does. He's really settling into his position.

"Shortly after arriving last season, he covered extremely well for Samuel and the French team is also aware of how well he is playing."

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