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Batistuta open to managing Middlesbrough

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Batistuta open to managing Middlesbrough

Frank Lampard's Derby County secured a playoff semifinal against Marcelo Bielsa's Leeds United with a 2-1 win over West Brom, pipping Middlesbrough to sixth place.

Former Argentina forward Gabriel Batistuta has told ESPN FC he is open to managing Middlesbrough, but added that the Championship side have yet to make any contact.

Batistuta is among the names linked with the vacancy at the club following Tony Pulis' departure after Boro failed to make the playoffs. Former England international Jonathan Woodgate is also in contention.

Batistuta, who has completed his coaching badges but has never managed a club, told ESPN FC he has not been contacted by Middlesbrough but "would analyse it" if he received an offer from the club.

Middlesbrough finished the season just one point outside the playoff places despite winning their final two matches of the season.

Batistuta started his career at Newell's Old Boys in 1988 before joining River Plate a year later and then crossed the great Buenos Aires divide to sign for Boca Juniors 12 months after that.

In 1991, after leading Argentina to glory in the Copa America, he signed for Fiorentina, where he spent nine years before joining Roma in 2000.

After leading the Giallorossi to their first league title in 18 years, he spent six months on loan at Inter Milan before joining Qatari side Al-Arabi, where he retired in 2005.

Batistuta quit Argentina in 2002 as his country's all-time goal scorer with 54 goals -- a tally which was surpassed by Lionel Messi in 2016.

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