After a dismal showing in the 5-1 El Clasico defeat to Barcelona, Real Madrid parted ways with Julen Lopetegui after just 14 games in charge, so who will take the reign of one of the world’s biggest clubs in this dire time.
10 games into LaLiga Santander, Real Madrid lie ninth, five points behind the Champions League spots. Madrid have won just one of their last seven games and lost to opponents like CSKA Moscow and Alaves, that in previous years would have been standard victories.
With Lopetegui’s dismissal, Santiago Solari has been placed in temporary charge of the team ahead of their midweek Copa del Rey tie with Melilla.
Antonio Conte was the favourite to take charge at Real but disagreements in contract negotiations and fears of the former Chelsea manager’s outrageous transfer demands has put doubt in the mind of Florentino Perez as to whether or not he is the right man for the job.
With all this speculation about who might become the next Galactico manager, let’s take a look at who the front runners for the job are:
#1 Santiago Solari, 8/15
The interim Real Madrid manager is the favourite to keep hold of the position, at least until the end of the year. Considering the team’s position and the performances they have been putting in, it’s fair to say a lot of madridisti have given up on this year already. Solari is familiar with the club and a fan favourite from his playing days so even if he doesn’t manage to reach Madrid’s regular heights this season, he won’t receive the blunt of the blame.
Perez himself may even see this year as a lost cause considering he couldn’t make any major signings in the Summer other than acquiring Mariano Diaz. Solari may be used as someone to hold the position for the year before the 2019/20 season, in which Real will be hoping to make a splash once again.
#2 Antonio Conte, 3/1
As I’ve previously said, Conte was the favourite for the position before Lopetegui was even relieved of his duties. His erratic style may be something you require time to warm up to in the preseason as opposed to throwing him in mid-season, but then again, that could be exactly what this Madrid side need. If Perez decides to go with the Italian, you can expect to see Madrid aggressively chasing the biggest names in Europe in the January transfer window to bolster their attack. Conte has shown that he can handle the biggest stages in Europe, winning three Serie A titles with Juventus and a Premier League title with Chelsea. He might be the man to bring LaLiga back to Madrid.
#3 Mauricio Pochettino, 4/1
Pochettino has long been a name associated with Real Madrid. Even before Zidane took charge of the side in 2016, Pochettino’s name was being mentioned as the potential ideal manager. He is the only candidate mentioned so far that has managerial experience in LaLiga. He managed fellow rivals of Barcelona, Espanyol for five seasons so he would be welcomed with open harms by the Real faithful. His style of play is admired by Perez and what he has accomplished in the Premier League is not to be sniffed at. However, he did sign a new contract with Tottenham in May and he has yet to win a league title with any team he has managed, something you are required to do if you want to be considered a success at Real Madrid.
#4 Arsene Wenger, 8/1
It would be a little weird to see Arsene Wenger trying to zip up a winter coat with a different crest to Arsenals but seeing him manage a new team is something that many happen in the near future, according to the man himself. Apparently he has received many offers already but turned them down as he would like to extend his managerial break until the 2019 season starts. After a less fulfilling last couple of years at Arsenal where trophies were proving a little hard to come by, a stint at Real Madrid might be enticing enough for the 62-year-old to get back in the dugout and once again, taste success.
#5 Guti 25/1
Well, asking a club legend to manage the team worked quite well recently, didn’t it? Guti hasn’t yet been a manager of a professional team but he has taken a role as assistant coach at Besiktas, the club where he finished his playing career. He has also couched the Real Madrid Youth team, so one would hope he can teach football as well as he could play it. Guti would be an unlikely appointment given his time spent away from the club. For him to be considered as much as Zidane was or Solari is now, he would probably have to be coaching the youth team or at least find managerial experience somewhere in Europe with another top team.
# Other notable names
Roberto Martinez – The Belgian head coach has turned the national side into the best in the FIFA world rankings and has helped the side to two major tournament semi-finals. He would be taking a job in his home country but it may be difficult to prise him from his national head coach duties.
Leonardo Jardim – Jardim led a youthful Monaco side to the Ligue 1 title ahead of PSG two seasons ago but was sacked, as well as Lopetegui, this month. He has shown he can lead a title challenger against a superior team on paper to victory, something Real would have to do this season.
Laurent Blanc – Another manager that has had Ligue 1 success. Laurent Blanc has helped PSG to three league titles in recent history and has handled the pressure of the top job in one of the major European leagues, as well as handling a lot of big egos. Blanc may be suited to take on the Madrid dressing room but there are more likely candidates for the job.
Who do you think is going to get the job? Do you agree with what the oddsmakers are saying? Maybe there is someone else that could take the role?
Leave a comment below or tweet with the hashtag #thethinkbay to voice your opinion.