MADRID (Reuters) - Tottenham Hotspur coach Mauricio Pochettino has encouraged his prolific striker Harry Kane to be inspired by the example of Roma great Francesco Totti and spend his entire career at Spurs.
Former Italy forward Totti spent 24 years in Roma’s first team, making his debut in 1993 and retiring last May aged 40. He played 786 games and scored 307 goals for the Serie A side and was reduced to tears after an emotional 3-2 win over Genoa in his final game at the Olympic Stadium.
Kane, 24, has scored 13 times in his last nine matches for club and country and has been the focus of media attention before Tuesday’s blockbuster clash in the Champions League between Spurs and Real Madrid, and was featured on the cover of newspaper Marca on Monday.
Speaking at a news conference, Pochettino was asked if one day Kane could be tempted to move to 12-time European champions Real, but the coach instead urged the player to remain a one-club man.
“He (Kane) was really emotional when he watched Totti’s last game with Roma and maybe it could inspire him. Maybe Harry could have the same type of career with Tottenham,” Pochettino said.
“The most important thing is that he is happy in Tottenham, who knows what will happen tomorrow, but he’s identified with the club where he grew up, he’s a player who loves scoring goals he loves putting on the shirt.”
Pochettino likened going to Real’s Santiago Bernabeu as a footballing baptism and Tuesday will be the first time Kane plays at the famous stadium.
The England striker also received high praise from Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane.
“He is a fundamental player for Tottenham, he is very good in every aspect, but the best thing about him is that he’s always got the goal on his mind,” said Zidane, who has won the Champions League as a player and twice as a manager with Real.
“He’s a very complete player even though he does not look it, but he always turns up when he needs to.”
Kane’s Spanish teammate Fernando Llorente meanwhile said the striker “turns everything he touches into a goal”.
As well as encouraging Kane to remain at Spurs, Pochettino said he himself would be happy to extend his stay at the club, whose fortunes he has radically transformed since taking over in 2014, helped by Kane’s explosive rise from the academy.
Asked if he could one day be tempted to succeed Zidane and take charge of Real Madrid, he added: “I’m very happy here. Daniel Levy (Tottenham chairman) has said he’d be happy to offer me a 15-year contract here. If he did, I’d be ready to sign it.”
Reporting by Richard Martin, editing by Ed Osmond and Christian Radnedge