Carlo Ancelotti was relieved of his position as manager of Real Madrid on Monday morning with club president Florentina Perez claiming that Ancelotti had done nothing wrong but that the standards and expectations at Real Madrid were just too high and a semi final of a Champions League and second in La Liga was a year ear marked as a failure. I take a look at the men who might replace Ancelotti and lead the next group of Galacticos. Apart from Ancelotti who last two years only two managers have lasted longer than a year over the last twenty years as Real Madrid managers, Vincent Del Bosque and Jose Mourhino.
5. Pep Guardiola
An unlikely to happen choice but the former Barcelona and current Bayern Munich manager is one of the best in the world. He has worked with two teams of superstars and knows how to get the best out of them, he also plays an attractive brand of football and is a winner. While Guardiola is one of the best managers in the world he is unlikely to take up the position at Madrid for a numbers of reasons. One his association with Barcelona would make it a tough sell for Pep to come back to La Liga with Real Madrid, two he has a team of superstars at his disposal at Munich, the freedom to buy who he wants in the market and even though there is pressure it is less that there would be at Real.
4. Louis Van Gaal
Another unlikely option but current Manchester United manager Louis Van Gaal is someone who could take the reigns at Real Madrid no problem. Having had two spells at Barcelona and a successful spell at Bayern Munich Van Gaal is a true superstar of European management. But there are obvious draw backs for Van Gaal, he is currently at one of the biggest teams in the world with an unlimited chequebook. I think Van Gaal stays where he is as he has already made his intentions to retire after his project at Manchester United is complete. I expect the former Dutch national coach to stay where he is.
3. Arsene Wenger
While some may think this is unlikely stranger things have happened. If Arsenal fail to win the cup next weekend it will be a trophyless year for the gunners and Wenger is it seems always one loss from the Arsenal fans calling for his sacking. Wenger has been a tremendously successful coach at Arsenal. Even without the trophies he has won (3 league titles, 5 FA Cups) Wenger has kept Arsenal in the Champions League every year and managed to keep them there on a shoe string budget. What could Arsene do with a bottomless purse and a team of superstars in Madrid? A lot is the answer but whether Wenger would be willing to give up the control he has at Arsenal to move to Madrid is the question really. Probably not.
2. Jurgen Klopp
The Borussia Dormtund boss has already announced that he will be leaving Borussia Dortmund at the end of this season so that makes him a front runner for the Real Madrid vacancy. Borussia Dortmund will play in the DFB Cup final on Saturday , the last game of Klopp's seven year reign which saw him wrestle some control away from Bayern Munich with Dortmund upsetting the odds and winning back to back Bundesliga's to go with one DFB Cup win and an appearance in the Champions League final. Klopp is a really interesting candidate for the Madrid job, Klopp plays a really good attacking brand of football, his counter attacking with pace tactics may suit the current batch of Real Madrid players and he also may have some sway in their attempts to sign Marco Reus. This is an option that really could happen.
1. Rafa Benitez
Rafa Benitez would appear to be the front runner for the vacancy if Real Madrid go looking for the Napoli manager. Benitez played for Real Madrid's second team for the majority of his playing career and had a successful spell as their second team manager in the early ninties. Benitez had a very successful spell as manager of Valencia between 2001-2004 where he won two league championships and a UEFA Cup , he also made it to two Champions League finals with Valencia. Benitez became something of a cup specialist with a less talented Liverpool squad winning one Champions League and reaching another final. Of all the other managers on this list I think Benitez has the biggest links to Real Madrid and possibly the biggest desire to go back to Spain and manage. I make Rafa favourite to take the job although I'm not sure it will work out with his tendency to be defensively minded.