For the 11th time in the past 10 years, the Real Madrid managerial hot seat is vacant. The relative (in)stability of the 3 year tenure of the “Special One” has been replaced with the search for the right candidate to take on what must surely be the toughest managerial role in the world. The constant media attention, the huge expectations of the Madridistas and the looming shadow of the Club President makes it a very challenging role- managers have been sacked despite winning trophies because they failed to play the kind of football the fans desired. Appointed with much fanfare, Jose Mourinho was supposed to be the person who would bring the much coveted “La Decima”, the 10th Champions League Trophy to Madrid. 3 seasons down the line, he leaves with his project still unfinished having fallen out with almost the entire dressing room. His constant whining about everything may be considered a character flaw, but the man has delivered trophies consistently- he won 1 La Liga, 1 Copa del Rey and 1 Supercopa de España during his time at Madrid. Yet, he failed to deliver the one thing that the club craves, the one reason the club put up with Mourinho’s numerous antics and dressing room ego clashes. Let’s face it, Madrid may not be the best in the world right now, but they certainly are one of the biggest; and, along with some of the best talent, they have some of the biggest egos. This is exactly what makes this role so challenging, and following Mourinho’s departure, the two names that have been linked with the Madrid job can be considered specialists when it comes to handling the egos in the dressing room.
Carlo Ancelotti during his stints at Juventus, AC Milan, Chelsea and PSG has handled many big egos and has delivered success to the clubs. Ancelotti has the ability to unify the squad; he’s very good in terms of bringing a good team atmosphere into the dressing room and getting on well with the players. That’s exactly what Real Madrid need because it has been a very difficult year for them with confrontations and many things going on and they need the players to get back together and fight for the same thing. Ancelotti is one of the few managers available that can do this. Style wise, there will possibly be a fair amount of consistency. Ancelotti can’t quite be pinned down for favoring a particularly formation of approach. Although Silvio Berlusconi, Milan’s president, criticized his defensive tactics in his early years as coach of Los Rossoneri, that has certainly not been a theme which has recurred throughout his career. At Chelsea his system was a little different; Chelsea kept possession and played attacking football, the aim being to keep control of the game with possession of the ball.
In fact, after retiring as a player and while a student at Coverciano in Italy, he published an academic essay titled“The future of football. More dynamism.” That’s a philosophy which would suffice in the Spanish capital; with the caveat that it would need to bring success- trophies, especially La Decima. PSG this season used a system unique to that deployed by most of Europe’s biggest clubs; they played 4-2-2-2. It perhaps says more about the versatility of Ancelotti than it does about the playing style of the French side.From his successful diamond at the San Siro, to using more width at Stamford Bridge to his current formation at the Parc des Princes, the 53-year-old has adapted to his surroundings, and if he’s sat in the Bernabeu dugout for the start of next season, we will most like see evolution rather than revolution.
Jupp Heynckes is fresh from clinching Champions League glory with Bayern Munich and is now one of the few coaches alongside the ‘Special One’ to have won the tournament with at least two different clubs. During his time at Bayern Munich, Heynckes made use of his wisdom as an old man to control the dressing room. Managing the likes of Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben is never an easy task. These stars are known to have a big ego. However, Heynckes succeeded in creating homogeneity within the squad and was rewarded with excellent results on the pitch. Bayern Munich’s success under Heynckes speaks for itself; he did not need media hype to cover up mistakes like Jose Mourinho had to during his turbulent spell at Real Madrid. The manner in which Heynckes went about Bayern’s semi-final tie against Barcelona was exemplary. Without begging for tips from Pep Guardiola, with whom he shares a strained relationship, the reigning Champions League winning coach took on Barcelona and totally dominated them tactically.
Heynckes’ defensive nous also makes him a good fit for the role. One only needs to look at the work he has done, particularly with the self-belief of that Bayern Munich squad and the way in which Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben double up with the full-backs, that makes Bayern difficult to score against. That is probably the key flaw of Real Madrid right now – that they don’t know how to defend the ball into the box from open play and set play. He has now left Bayern Munich in a very healthy shape as pundits debate on whether it is the best team in world football currently. After the Mourinho era, Real Madrid need a responsible coach who will not give too much respect to Barcelona as candidate Carlo Ancelotti who is publicly a great admirer of the Catalans. Real Madrid have already missed out on Brazilian sensation Neymar despite having him at the club to train with the youth academy in 2005. Losing out on Heynckes despite Reyes’ come-and-get-me plea would be an early sign of failure ahead of the 2013/14 club football season while Spanish La Liga champions Barcelona continue to grow in confidence. It is time for Real Madrid president Florentino Perez to make the most important signing of the 2013 summer by acquiring the services of the man who guided them to Champions League success 15 years ago.
Carlo Ancelotti has been tipped to be the favourite to take the manager’s role at the Bernabeu. He will be free to join Real Madrid if Paris St Germain make Laurent Blanc their new manager. Marca reports that Blanc has met with Paris St Germain president Nassar Al-Khelaifi to talk about the possibility of taking over from the Italian.The pair are reported to have spoken about a one-year contract and Blanc has expressed an interest in working with PSG’s Director of Football, Leonardo. Ancelotti is reportedly very keen to take over from Jose Mourinho at Madrid but PSG has been reluctant to let the Italian go, especially after such a successful season where PSG won their first French title since 1994 and reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League, losing to a Messi inspired Barcelona. Madrid are interested in the former Chelsea boss due to his experience in the Champions League- the Italian has won the competition twice with AC Milan and Real Madrid are desperate to win the competition for the first time since 2002. Heynckes is being touted as the backup option in case Madrid are unable to sign Ancelotti. Heynckes’ agent Enrique Reyes has made the intentions of the 68-year-old very clear, stating that Heynckes would love to go back to Real. “If Florentino Perez calls us, we would most likely accept the offer. For the time being, he has only retired from the Bundesliga. It’s not up to Heynckes, it’s up to Florentino Perez [to decide for Real Madrid’s vacant managerial post].”