Zinedine Zidane rejected approach to coach USMNT

Zinedine Zidane rejected an approach from the US Soccer Federation to take over as head coach of the US men’s national team, sources have told ESPN.

Zidane, via his agent Alain Migliaccio, was asked if he would be interested in succeeding Gregg Berhalter on the US bench, to which the Frenchman politely said no.

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The 1998 World Cup winner, who turned 50 last June, has been without a club since the end of his second spell in charge of Real Madrid in the summer of 2021, but he has his eyes firmly set on the France job at some point.

With the announcement on Saturday that Didier Deschamps’ contract as France coach has been extended until 2026, Zidane will have to wait a few more years and might take a job in the meantime.

But it will not be with the US team, nor will it be with the national teams of Brazil or Portugal, who were also keen on the three-time Champions League-winning coach.

Berhalter’s contract as USMNT coach expired on Dec. 31, with the federation announcing this week that assistant coach Anthony Hudson would take charge for friendlies against Serbia on Jan. 25 in Los Angeles and against Colombia three days later in Carson, California.

As well as undertaking a review of the USMNT program following the 2022 World Cup, US Soccer has commissioned an investigation into a domestic violence incident from 1991 involving Berhalter and his now-wife, Rosalind.

Berhalter released a statement on Tuesday revealing that he had kicked his longtime partner during an argument when they were dating.

Danielle Reyna, the mother of USMNT player Gio Reyna, said on Wednesday that she had disclosed the incident to US Soccer, who hired Alston and Bird LLP to conduct an independent investigation into the matter.

However, US Soccer sporting director Earnie Stewart, speaking at a news conference this week, allowed for the possibility that Berhalter could be rehired as coach upon the conclusion of the external law firm’s investigation and US Soccer’s own internal review of the men’s program.

Speaking on Thursday, Berhalter, who led the USMNT to a round-of-16 exit to the Netherlands in Qatar, said he was still keen to continue as coach.

“It’s about being able to take that next step and the next step is doing something that no US team has ever done and that’s get to the semifinals and see what happens from there,” he said while appearing as a guest on “The New World of Work,” an online streaming show produced by the Harvard Business Review.

“So, there’s a lot of great challenges involved. Of course, I’d like to continue in my role.”

The US will jointly host the 2026 World Cup, alongside Canada and Mexico.

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