Julian Nagelsmann has revealed that he turned down an offer from Real Madrid because it was not the right step for his career.
Then, at Hoffenheim, Nagelsmann was on a short list of candidates to replace Zinedine Zidane at the Santiago Bernabeu in 2018, but Julen Lopetegui was ultimately appointed to the position.
However, Lopetegui’s tenure ended in October of that year, while Santiago Solari also had a brief term in command before Zidane returned in March 2019.
Nagelsmann, meanwhile, opted to join RB Leipzig, taking command in 2019 and guiding the team to third place in the Bundesliga. The 33-year-old has confirmed that he decided not to sign for Real Madrid, as he thought he was not yet ready to take on a job of such magnitude.
“We had phone calls, but in the end the one who decided was me,” Nagelsmann told Marca before the Leipzig Champions League quarter-finals with Atlético de Madrid.
“I believed that it was not yet the right step to go to Real Madrid. I was one of the candidates and the list was not very long.
“For me it was very important. I had a good chat with [Madrid general director] José Ángel Sánchez and we decided that it was still not the right step.
“We agreed that we could talk again in the future if Real Madrid needed a coach and if I was available.”
Nagelsmann added that Leipzig provided him with the ideal platform to develop as a coach.
“I wanted the next step to be logical. I try to plan a career in football, even if it is difficult, ”he said.
“I’m a kid, I don’t have to go to the top shelf right away either. I give myself time to develop myself. Leipzig did their best to sign me. That was the most important thing.
“Relatively fast I had an offer on the table. We had good conversations and I saw that it was a good next step. A bigger club, with a budget higher than Hoffenheim, which would allow me to continue developing.
“They have also given me a free hand to present my ideas. I do not have to permanently justify what I do, but I have the possibility to evolve and bring my ideas to the field of play.
“It was a good next step in my career to prepare myself and maybe in the future.”