• Premier League

Karanka in no man's land after rejecting Chelsea

ESPN staff
July 2, 2013
Aitor Karanka (left) will not be joining Jose Mourinho in London © AP

Aitor Karanka has declined the invitation to join Jose Mourinho at Chelsea and now finds himself with a three-year contract but no role to fulfil.

The former Real Madrid defender, who began his playing career at Athletic Bilbao, cut his teeth in management with Spain's Under-16 side before joining Madrid as Mourinho's assistant in 2010. Karanka formed a strong alliance with the controversial Portuguese manager and would often take the floor in pre and post-match press conferences, when Mourinho wasn't available.

However despite what seemed like a successful partnership, Karanka decided not to follow the former Madrid coach to London, preferring to remain in the Spanish capital where he is contracted until 2016.

"Mourinho wanted me to go with him to Chelsea" Karanka told ASTV. "But there was also the option of staying. I have a great relationship with Florentino (Perez) so we will sit down and talk and see what happens."

But his chances of staying in Madrid seem to be running out. Carlo Ancelotti announced last week that Zinedine Zidane would be his assistant and there are no positions available in the reserve team, Real Madrid Castilla.

However, Karanka is determined to continue his coaching career and one possible destination is believed to be Al Ahli in Dubai, who are searching for a replacement for another Spaniard, Quique Sanchez Flores, who stepped down last month.

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