It was announced on Monday that Real Madrid would let go of Carlo Ancelotti, 55, as the manager of the club, only a year after he won the Champions League title. The search is now on to find another manager to take Ancelotti’s place, and the rumors are that Rafa Benitez is the first name on Real’s shortlist.
Ancelotti spent two seasons at Madrid, but despite winning the Champions League last season along with the Spanish Cup, he was sacked by President Florentino Perez. Real got knocked out in the semifinals of this season’s Champions League, and ended up second in La Liga behind Barcelona.
Real has a history of firing coaches, and the next manager will be the Madrid club’s eighth manager in 10 years. It’s a list with great managers like Jose Mourinho and Fabio Capello, but it seems like a season without any major titles is enough to get you fired, even if you have a resume like Ancelotti’s.
Perez spoke at a press conference on Monday about the decision to let Ancelotti go, despite having a year left on his contract.
“Carlo is part of our history because he won the Décima for us,” said Pérez. “But here the demands are very high and we need to give Real Madrid a new push that allows us to reach the level that we want to be.”
According to Ancelotti’s agent, Ernesto Bronzetti, Rafa Benitez if the favorite to take charge at Madrid next season. Benitez is currently the manager of Italian club Napoli, but Bronzetti made a claim that “Benítez is 99% sure to go to Real.”
We’ll have to wait and see if Bronzetti is telling the truth, but that quote has been spread all over the media, and Napoli has called for a press conference on Thursday, where we can expect them to address these rumors.
In addition to Benitez, The Guardian says that former Borussia Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp, Michel, and Unai Emery are being linked with the job.
Perez said in the press conference that he expect the search for a new manager will go by fairly quick.
“Next week we will know the name of the new manager of Real Madrid. With our great team, talent and hard work, we will be able to give satisfaction and happiness to our fans and our members,” said Perez.
Benitez was born in Madrid and has history with Real as he started out by coaching their reserve squad, and he has on numerous times spoken well about the club in the media. Klopp is said to take some time off before taking a new job, but if the opportunity to coach Real is given to him, it would be hard to imagine Klopp to turn it down.
Michel is unemployed after his contract with Greek side Olympiacos was terminated in January. He lead Olympiacos to two Greek championships and a Greek Cup victory during his roughly two years at the club.
Unai Emery has done a good job at several Spanish clubs and is currently the boss of Sevilla. Seeing how Real usually go with big name coaches, Benitez and Klopp should be the frontrunners for the job.
Coaching Real Madrid is one of the most prestigious jobs in soccer, but the job comes with an immense amount of pressure and one bad season could mean that you’re out the door. Perez said that even though Ancelotti was liked, it’s not acceptable for Real to go a season without winning something.
“It was a very difficult decision to make; the demands at this club are the utmost because Madrid always wants to win silverware,” said Perez. “The affection that the players and the fans have for Carlo is the same as the affection I myself have for him.
“What did Ancelotti do wrong? I don’t know. The demands here at Real Madrid are very high.”