Zidane rejects USMNT's lucrative offer to be next head coach

Zinedine Zidane
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Zinedine Zidane turned down the United States men's national team's lucrative offer to be its next head coach, GOAL can confirm.

WHAT'S HAPPENING? As first reported by L'Equipe and confirmed by GOAL, the Stars and Stripes made an offer to the French legend that was attractive, both personally and sportingly, with a high proposed salary and the prospect of coaching the 2026 World Cup co-hosts. But Zidane, who last coached Real Madrid, is said to be holding out for the France post, even as Didier Deschamps just signed an extension.

THE BIGGER PICTURE: The USMNT is currently investigating a 1991 domestic violence incident that recently surfaced from Gregg Berhalter's past. The 2022 World Cup manager's contract ended this past week, and while it's possible he eventually returns, the program is assessing all options.

AND WHAT'S MORE: Anthony Hudson was named the interim manager for January international camp, though he is unlikely to be named permanent head coach.

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Zinedine Zidane

THE VERDICT: It's safe to say U.S. Soccer is swinging for the fences. The prospect of bringing in Zidane was always unlikely, but it does show that the federation is willing to pursue the biggest names out there for the job. It also shows that they may not be as rigid in their requirements as they have been in years past, with the last coaching search requiring candidates to be fluent in English and willing to live in Chicago.

With that in mind, there are plenty of interesting targets for U.S. Soccer to pursue, from big names like Mauricio Pochettino and Mauro Bielsa, both of whom are unemployed, to international veterans like Tite, Luis Enrique and Jogi Low, all of whom are also without a job at the moment.

WHAT NEXT FOR THE USMNT? U.S. Soccer's ongoing investigation into Berhalter (and allegations that Gio Reyna's family blackmailed him) could provide more clarity on the future of the program. As for games, the U.S. has a pair of upcoming friendlies scheduled against Colombia and Serbia as part of the annual January camp.