Bayern Munich's players throw coach  Heynckes in the air after winning Bundesliga soccer match against Eintracht Frankfurt and the German soccer Championships in Frankfurt

Jupp Heynckes throwing his hat into the ring for Real Madrid job?


Jupp Heynckes may not be done, something his agent’s making sure we know.

One day after winning his second UEFA Champions League title, the soon-to-be former Bayern Munich coach was having his hat thrown back into the ring. Speaking on Spanish radio, agent Enrique Reyes said his client would be willing to return to Real Madrid, the club with which he won his first European title.

In 1997-98, the German coach took El Real to the European summit, but after finishing fourth in La Liga, Heynckes lost his job. Now, after 15 years, the man who raised hardware yesterday at Wembley is willing to let bygones be bygones:

“Jupp would love to go back to Real. If Florentino Pérez calls us, we would most likely accept the offer”, he told the Spanish national radio station.

“For the time being, he has only retired from the Bundesliga”, Reyes said, before concluding with a come-and-get-me plea: “It’s not up to Heynckes, it’s up to Florentino Pérez”.

By now we know who Real Madrid want: Paris Saint-Germain’s Carlo Ancelotti. And they’re likely to get him. Yet with Rafa Benítez likely to land in Napoli, Heynckes may come into Pérez’s picture if Ancelotti has a change of heart.

Whether that’s a good thing is less certain. Heynckes had a great 2012-13 and deserves as much credit as any Bayern player, but it was a culmination of a two-year effort, with Heynckes having picked up the pieces from Louis van Gaal. In his first year on the job, Bayern finished without a trophy, losing the Champions League final on home soil. It was only in Heynckes’s second year that everything came together.

Who knows if he’ll be given that time at Real Madrid. Whomever Pérez hires will be expected to win something next year, but inheriting a squad built to suit José Mourinho, the new Madrid boss will need to make changes. And as Real looks to reestablish an organization ceded to Mourinho, Heynckes will have to work with the higher ups to make that happen. They don’t need to rebuild, but in 2013-14, Real Madrid will still be a process.

Is that the right job for a man who was thought to be on the verge of retirement? Particularly one who was already shown away from the Bernabeu once?

Perhaps it’s not ideal. Still, Real Madrid could do a lot worse than Jupp Heynckes.

“Overweight” Costa comes to Mourinho’s defense

Diego Costa, Chelsea FC
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Diego Costa says he and his Chelsea teammates are to blame for Chelsea’s horrid start to the 2015-16 Premier League season.

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Speaking Thursday, during a bit of downtime over the current international break (Costa was left out of Vicente del Bosque’s squad for Spain’s final two EURO 2016 qualifiers this week), Costa placed the majority of blame at the feet of the entire team, but went on to most harshly critique himself for coming into the season unfocused and “overweight.”

Costa, on his lack of fitness and form to begin the season — quotes from the Guardian:

“We know we’re not in the form we were supposed to be at the beginning of the season. We need to blame the players because we came back from holiday very confident, thinking we could go back into how it was last season, and then realized the team was already in a bad situation.

“I’m going to be very honest: maybe a few weeks ago, five or six weeks ago, I was not on top of my game. At least physically. We talk within the players and we know that, maybe at the beginning, we were not 100 percent as we were supposed to be when we got here. I got injured at the end of last season and then I went on holiday. Maybe I got out of my diet and, when I came back, I was not the way I was supposed to be. I was a little bit overweight. That affected my game. You can be selfish and blame it on the manager but I’m not going to do that. I’m responsible 100%, and so are the other guys.

Given that Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said on Thursday he doesn’t quite know what’s wrong with the defending Premier League champions, hearing someone — anyone — speak up and explain the club’s worst start to a season in 37 years will surely be a welcome sound to any Blues supporter’s ears.

[ MORE: Liverpool appoint Klopp as manager | Allardyce to Sunderland? ]

Costa, who is eligible to return from suspension next weekend when Aston Villa visit Stamford Bridge, has scored just one goal in league play this season (six appearances) after scoring 20 in 26 games last season.

Sam Allardyce to open talks with Sunderland

Sam Allardyce, West Ham United FC
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Now that Liverpool have selected and named their new manager, it appears Sunderland are finally ready to move forward with their own managerial search. (That’s clearly a joke, because it implies Liverpool and Sunderland ever duke it out for the same managerial candidate.)

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Anyway, the Black Cats will have to hire someone to replace the recently-departed Dick Advocaat at some point. We all knew that, despite the fact he’s probably earned a shot at that level, Bob Bradley was never really going to be considered for the job. With that in mind, if you’re not going to endear yourself to the entire United States of America with this hire, you might as well go for the best unemployed manager who’ll actually consider your approach.

That’s what Sunderland chairman Ellis Short appears to have done, as it was reported Thursday that despite an initial reluctance from Sam Allardyce — let’s be honest, he actually was holding out hope for the Liverpool job — the 60-year-old most recently in charge of West Ham United was willing and ready to enter into negotiations with the northeastern club.

One of the major sticking points during Sunderland’s courting of Allardyce is expected to be his demand for autonomy in the transfer market as well as a sizable transfer budget to sign his own players during the January window.

[ MORE: Advocaat: Sunderland squad too thin, chairman to blame ]

Allardyce seems like the no. 1 guy you’d like to bring in to steady a capsized ship — cough Sunderland cough — in any situation. Not only does he have a successful track record in the Premier League, but he’s the kind of no-nonsense leader a club like Sunderland so desperately needs as they find themselves in yet another relegation battle just eight games into the new season.

Short hopes to have Allardyce signed, sealed and delivered when the Premier League returns to action next weekend. In that event, Allardyce’s first game in charge of Sunderland would be a trip to West Bromwich Albion. His first home fixture? Home to Tyne-Wear derby rivals Newcastle United, a club whose boisterous fanbase still holds a great deal of disdain for Big Sam. Sometimes the football gods really are looking out for us.