Besiktas Open Door to Guti Real Madrid Return Amid Julen Lopetegui Exit Rumours

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistOctober 25, 2018

MADRID, SPAIN - MARCH 08: Head coach Jose Maria Gutierrez alias Guti of Real Madrid CF thumbs up during the UEFA Youth League Quarter Final match between Real Madrid CF and AFC Ajax at Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano on March 8, 2017 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Besiktas president Fikret Orman has said his club would release assistant coach Guti to Real Madrid should Los Blancos want to make the former midfielder Julen Lopetegui's replacement as Los Blancos manager.

Per AS' Ozgur Sancar, Guti has been named as one of the main candidates to become Real's next manager.

He is supposed to spend the rest of the season with Besiktas, but Orman has made it clear his club would be willing to accommodate an early return: 

"No one has contacted us about Guti so far. We haven't heard anything about it, but if we receive a request from Real Madrid, we'll be only too happy to help.

"If Guti returns to Madrid, it would make us feel very proud. He deserves that job, we were keen for him to take the coaching post here last summer."

Guti has long been touted as a future top manager and followed in the footsteps of Zinedine Zidane as a youth coach with Real. He found great success at various levels in the Blancos setup and moved to Turkey on a temporary basis in the summer to gain more experience.

The 41-year-old has worked under Senol Gunes in Istanbul, and Besiktas sit four points out of first place in the Super Lig.

Guti is a club legend who was born near Madrid and came up through the academy. He spent the best years of his career with Los Blancos and finished his playing days in Turkey before returning as a coach.

The gifted passer is popular with the fans and knows the club as well as anyone, making him an ideal candidate to coach the side one day.

Los Blancos shared some of his top highlights with the club on their official YouTube channel:

The European champions appointed Lopetegui as Zidane's replacement in the summer and impressed in the first weeks of the season, but they've hit a major slump of late.

The narrow 2-1 win over Viktoria Plzen in the UEFA Champions League ended a winless run of five matches and didn't inspire much confidence ahead of Sunday's El Clasico against Barcelona.

If Los Blancos lose to their rivals, the gap between the two in La Liga will be seven points. In all likelihood, Lopetegui will be sacked if that happens, and Real have limited options to replace him.

Former Juventus and Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has been strongly linked with the job in recent weeks:

Sky Sports Premier League @SkySportsPL

Antonio Conte has been approached by representatives of Real Madrid president Florentino Perez over his availability, according to Sky sources. More: https://t.co/v5Fy2bHnEM https://t.co/A7zOpOVTfU

The Italian would appear a more likely candidate than the inexperienced Guti, but Real have shown they're willing to gamble on managerial talent, appointing Zidane before he had any coaching experience with a senior team.

Guti stood out for his vision and high football IQ during his playing days, and those traits make him an intriguing managerial candidate, but it's probably best to let him gain some more experience in Turkey for now.

His strong connection with the club suggests he will be back at some point in the near future, so Los Blancos should have little fear someone else will snap him up.