MAURICIO POCHETTINO, David Beckham and Zinedine Zidane will send the rumour mill into meltdown after enjoying dinner at a swanky London restaurant… then leaving via the back door within seconds of each other.
The trio – three of the biggest names in world football – were snapped exiting the exclusive Locanda Locatelli eatery just three minutes part.
Tottenham boss Pochettino and Zidane have both been heavily linked with the Manchester United job this season following Jose Mourinho’s sacking.
And Pochettino, 48, is also one of the big favourites to be appointed be Real Madrid, where Beckham and Zidane were team-mates and who the Frenchman was boss of until last summer.
United and and Real legend Beckham was joined on his dinner date at the Michelin-starred restaurant by his close pal Dave Gardner.
Pochettino and his assistant manager at Spurs, Jesus Perez, also took the opportunity of a rare night off by visiting the West End venue.
The pair enjoyed a relaxing evening together as they took time away from the club’s bid to win the Premier League, before leaving from the kitchen exit rather than the main door at 10.55pm.
Becks and Zidane, team-mates in the famous Galacticos side at the Bernabeu, are still close friends and remain on good terms with the club’s President Florentino Perez.
They too left from the kitchen exit – Zidane first at 10.52pm while Beckham and Gardner followed just a minute later.
Beckham and Zidane are believed to be in London to film an advert for Adidas.
The steward at the back door of the restaurant must have been rubbing his eyes at seeing three huge footballing names leave in the space of three minutes on a quiet Tuesday night in February.
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It is not clear whether any of the trio dined together inside the luxurious setting where a roast breast of guinea fowl, glazed carrots, liver crostini and black truffle will set you back £36.50.
But any football fans also present would have been counting their blessings by sharing the surroundings with all three in the same place at the same time.
Zidane is currently out of work having left Real at the end of last season after delivering three successive Champions League triumphs and is still a regular at the Bernabeu.
The Spanish giants have found life difficult to replace him, with Julen Lopetegui sacked within four months and replaced by Santiago Scolari who has endured similar problems to his predecessor.
So much so there is talk in the country that Real are looking to appoint a new boss in the summer with Mourinho and Pochettino impressing them.
If the three had reason to have spoken while at Locanda Locatelli, they could have checked up on how Beckham’s plans for his Inter Miami side are going in America.
Or they could have spoken about what is going on at Vanarama National League side Salford City, who the former Real and United star recently invested in along with his Class of 92 colleagues.
Pochettino and Perez might also have sounded out Zidane for advice on how to win the Champions League, with a last 16 match against Borussia Dortmund looming next week.
Though they will have no doubt been annoyed with themselves for failing to share a taxi home having all decided to leave within 180 seconds of each other.
It is not the first time Pochettino’s dining activities have made the headlines, with the Spurs boss memorably joining Sir Alex Ferguson for lunch.
The pair met in 2016, although Spurs insisted at the time they were unconcerned by the meeting.
The Argie said at the time: “It was fantastic. It was the dream come true.
“When I was young starting my career as a manager he was my inspiration. And
when you can share two hours with the person who is the greatest manager in
the world of all time you must enjoy it.
“I wanted time to stop, but of course that is impossible.”