Real Madrid are the second biggest sports franchise in the world, with a name and brand which is known in all four corners of the globe. Everything about the club is massive, the stadium, the fanbase, the money, the success, the star quality and the expectation. Simply put, there is no football club quite like Real Madrid.
After Zinidine Zidane’s shock exit from the manager role on the 31st of May, the big question remains, who will next lead the Galacticos and is there any chance for success? For practically any manager, the chance to manage Real Madrid is far too good to turn down but I have listed 3 reasons below why it might just be the toughest job in football.
Big shoes to fill
When Zidane was announced as Real Madrid manager back in January 2016, there was an air of trepidation with many fans who were questioning the appointment. Zidane had only been managing the Real Madrid B team for a year and a half and considering the high-profile nature of the job, many wondered if he was ready. However, he could not have done more to prove his critics wrong.
Zidane took Real Madrid to an outstanding 9 out of 13 titles within his 3 years at the club and has now left a huge task his future predecessor. Zidane literally won everything he could and because of this, Madrid fans have been used to continual success at the highest level. Any manager going to one of the top teams in Europe is going to have to meet high expectations, but no where is this truer than Madrid. Meeting the expectations of the mass of fans in the Bernabeu next season is going to be a huge ask.
Stars on the way out
Real Madrid have a team full of Galacticos and some of the biggest stars in the world, but teams have highs and lows and this seems like the beginning of a drop for Madrid. Even after a great success of a Champions League win, both Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo questioned their future at the biggest club in football. In addition to this several Real Madrid’s stars are starting the tail end of their careers. Marcelo, Benzema, Modric, Ronaldo and Ramos are all over 30 years old and are still crucial players for the team, with all five starting in the Champions League final. It is extremely difficult to replace some of the best players in the world at their position. Neymar’s potential move away from PSG looks to be the transfer story of the summer with financial fair play restrictions being thrown at the Parisian giants. However, in a team already full of big characters and egos, how does a player like Neymar fit in? Considering he was formerly a Barcelona player and has been in confrontations with other players at PSG, most notably Cavani, it does not look like it will be easy for any manager to control so many big personalities all at once.
Falling behind their rivals
Winning the Champions League was enormous for Real Madrid, partially because it covered up what was by their own high standards a poor season for the club. A shock exit from the Copa del Rey in the quarter final to La Liga minnows Leganes was a real blow, but a strong position in the league would make up for this. Unfortunately, this was not the case with Madrid faltering massively, finishing an enormous 17 points away from Barcelona and even behind their city rivals Atletico Madrid. There is certainly no easy fix and with the likes of Bale and Ronaldo hinting at moves away and it is not going to be easy to move up the table next year, even if they are able to keep their best players. Barcelona and Atletico will be looking to strengthen their squad going into the new season as well, making the task of winning the league next year look extremely difficult. Furthermore, the biggest teams in Europe will all focusing their energies to try and prise the Champions League trophy away from Madrid. As a result, winning a major trophy next year will be a massive challenge for Real Madrid.
So who is in the frame for the hardest job in football? Legendary former Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger leads many bookmaker’s odds as well as other experienced managers who are in jobs such as Antonio Conte and Maurizio Sarri. Former players Guti and Santiago Solari are also high on the list of candidates for the biggest job in football but have much less experience. Real Madrid and their fans are not known for being patient with their managers and demand quick and consistent success, this is much easier said than done.
No matter what, this job is not going to be easy for any of the managers above. It does not surprise me in the slightest that Mauricio Pocchetino, Massimiliano Allegri and Joachim Low have all allegedly rejected the advances of the Spanish giants. The job is a poisoned chalice, a great opportunity in theory, but one which is almost certain to end in disaster for any manager who takes on the role.
Who do you think will manage Real Madrid next and do you think they will be a success? I would love to hear your answers in the comments down below!