Five facts about Crystal Palace managerial target Aitor Karanka

Aitor Karanka has thrown his hat in to the ring to replace Iain Holloway at Selhurst Park, but who is the former Real Madrid assistant?

Crystal Palace are no closer to appointing their new manager, and despite the bookmakers installing Wales manager Chris Coleman as the hot favourite, Spaniard Aitor Karanka has been approached with a view to taking over at Selhurst Park. Despite working with Jose Mourinho, Karanka isn't a household name in England, so here is a brief introduction to the man who could be coming to the Premier League.

  1. As a player, Karanka made his name with Athletic Bilbao as a central defender, before spending five years with Real Madrid. A return to Bilbao followed, but he finished his career with MLS side Colorado Rapids in 2006.

  2. Whilst with Real Madrid, Karanka claimed three Champions League winners medals, one La Liga title, the Spanish Super Cup and the Intercontinental Cup.

  3. Whilst he featured for Real Madrid, Karanka only earned one full cap for Spain, but also featured for the Basque Country, the national team of the Basque autonomous community, making six appearances.

  4. As a manager, Karanka took charge of Spain Under 16's for two years before he was appointed as Jose Mourinho's assistant at Real Madrid in 2010, where he often conducted interviews in Mourinho's absence.

  5. Despite being offered a position on Mourinho's coaching staff with Chelsea, Karanka turnd down the opportunity to pursue his own management career, and has recently held talks with Middlesbrough over replacing Tony Mowbray at the Riverside Stadium.

image: © OliverN5

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