5 Potential Candidates to Replace Carlo Ancelotti at Real Madrid
After a largely underwhelming season with the European champions, manager Carlo Ancelotti was sacked after worldwide speculation about his future.
With Real Madrid looking to regain their form of last season, Napoli manager Rafael Benitez is expected to be announced as the new head coach at the Bernabeu, but we discuss whether there are any better candidates for the alluring position.
5. Zinedine Zidane
Zidane being appointed would be such a fairytale story, but the Frenchman lacks experience at any level of the game. Players would be likely to be desperate to succeed under a club legend. A good relationship between the players and managerial team is key to any success at a club, and that is what quite a lot of big teams lack currently. For example, Sir Alex Ferguson led Manchester United to greatness with a squad that underachieved when David Moyes was in charge - that suggests a certain relationship that the players had with Ferguson and lacked with Moyes. It could be beneficial appointing Zidane, but it would be a massive risk.
4. Paul Clement
The Derby-bound manager has been Ancelotti's assistant manager for the past three years and the players have gotten to know him. As mentioned in the Zidane section, a player-manager relationship is key. Clement could have kept training methods the same and changed the tactics of the team, preventing the team from having to go into a restructuring process which they will have to under a new manager. If Ancelotti's second-hand man had not been backed at 1/20 to become the new Derby County manager, I would have seen him as a real contender for one of the most credible jobs in the world.
3. Rafael Benitez
Although Benitez is poised to become the new manager, his domestic record must concern Real Madrid fans. Benitez has failed to guide any of his clubs to a top two finish in the past five seasons. That's with title-seeking clubs like Chelsea and Napoli. Napoli's shock Europa League exit to Dnipro has also lowered the Italian's reputation, which is why it is a big surprise to see Real Madrid desperate to appoint him. However, ignoring his poor domestic record and the shock European exit, Benitez has won five trophies in last five seasons as a manager, Madrid winning just one more with six trophies in their last five seasons. His experience could be useful, especially as he led Valencia to back-to-back La Liga titles in the early 2000s. This is the man who will be appointed, but questions will be continued to be asked about his credentials.
2. Ronald Koeman
For some reason, bookies always include Koeman in the running for any available vacancy in Spain, which implies, to me, that the Dutch manager would be tempted by a move to La Furia Roja and the job that he has done at Southampton is unbelievable. He has the potential to become one of the best managers in the world, but he needs to do it on a European stage. Real Madrid would provide him with that exact oppourtunity. Koeman has shown his initiative in the transfer market by making numerous successful signings for the south-coast club and I struggle to see any reason that his knowledge would fail him at a higher level. The only factor of Koeman's past that some Real Madrid fans would not welcome is the fact that he played for fierce rivals Barcelona, but if they realise how good of a manager he is, that should not be an issue.
1. Jurgen Klopp
This space was only ever going to be filled by one man. Jurgen Klopp. The man who built Borussia Dortmund up from nothing to Champions League finalists and Bundesliga champions. In the Bundesliga, it is hard enough just to compete with Bayern Munich, let alone beat them to the title in two consecutive seasons. Klopp achieved this, and it has failed to be recognised as much as it should have been. Dortmund fell massively in the league this season, and nobody knows the reason behind that. However, one thing is for certain, it was not the deteriation of a player-manager relationship. The players worshipped Klopp and that was demonstrated in Klopp's final match in charge. Appointing Klopp would also increase their chance of signing several long-term targets like Marco Reus and Mats Hummels. Unfortunately for any Real Madrid fans who would favour Klopp, I'm not in charge of deciding who should manage the ten-time European champions.