André Villas-Boas has described stories linking him with a summer move to Real Madrid as "flattering" and "an honour" but he said that he was focused on continuing at Tottenham Hotspur and beginning a second season at the same club for the first time.
The 35-year-old Portuguese's whirlwind managerial career has taken him from Académica in his home country to White Hart Lane via Porto and Chelsea but he has not stayed anywhere for more than one season. He lasted only eight months at Chelsea last time out before he was sacked.
Madrid are expected to be in the market for a new manager, with the incumbent, José Mourinho, having dropped heavy hints that his time at the Bernabéu is approaching its end. People close to him have been more forthright and he has been touted for a return to Chelsea when the interim manager, Rafael Benítez, departs in the summer.
Carlo Ancelotti, the Paris Saint-Germain manager, is the favourite to succeed Mourinho at Madrid but the Spanish club have also taken note of the job that Villas-Boas has done in his debut season at Tottenham, where he has led a squad in transition to the Europa League quarter-finals and top-four contention. Villas-Boas, who is under contract until 2015, resumes the mission to finish above Arsenal, Chelsea or both in the Premier League at Wigan Athletic on Saturday.
"At the moment I am very, very focused on trying to get another year at one club … the same club," Villas-Boas said, with a smile. "It's very … obviously flattering but everybody is being linked with the Real Madrid job at the moment because there are now lots of coaches around.
"I have a contract. I was given an opportunity [by Tottenham] and was extremely grateful. The speculation about Real Madrid comes from the coach having speculation all over the world about his exit. The fact he made it public that he is looking for an exit has ended up with a lot of speculation. For me it is always an honour but I am completely focused."
Villas-Boas has always said that he would like to keep his managerial career short and also use it to travel the world to experience interesting places; for example, in South America. "Yes, definitely, Brazil … my feelings are the same," he said, before sparking a moment of alarm. "I would definitely move very, very soon to a club in a different league." It was later suggested that Villas-Boas confused the notions of "soon" and "one day" in his English language.
Villas-Boas talked about his desire to see Tottenham finish above Arsenal for the first time since 1995 but he said that the striker Olivier Giroud's three-match ban for his red card at Fulham would not adversely affect the rival north London club.
"Giroud is key but Arsenal have the option of Gervinho, who has finished his last fixtures very well," Villas-Boas said. "Lukas Podolski offers that too, and they have the chance to put him through the middle. He can have an impact, as we know how desperate he is to play through the centre. Theo Walcott as well. There is that motivation for those two players to get back in the middle. That will help Arsenal in some way.
"There are lots of games still to play. We can give you a better perspective later but at the moment it is completely open. We are still chasing, although we have the destiny in our hands."
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