Hitzfeld: I rejected Real Madrid

The former Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich coach claims he had the chance to take charge at the Bernabeu in 1997

Ottmar Hitzfeld has revealed he rejected an offer from Real Madrid after he had guided Borussia Dortmund to Champions League glory in 1997.

The 66-year-old was one of the most sought-after coaches in the game after his successful spell in charge at the Westfalenstadion, but he eventually opted against a move to Spain in favour of a position as sporting director at Dortmund.

“I turned down the chance to take charge of Real Madrid after we had won the Champions League with Borussia Dortmund in 1997,” Hitzfeld told Blick.

“I lost a fair bit of sleep over that decision.

“But in the end I thought ‘I will get fired before I even get the chance to learn Spanish’.”

Madrid eventually decided to replace Fabio Capello with Jupp Heynckes following Hitzfeld’s decision to reject the Santiago Bernabeu side.

Hitzfeld left his position as sporting director at Dortmund in 1998 to take charge of Bayern Munich and also coached Switzerland’s national side before retiring after the 2014 World Cup.

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