Real Madrid head into this Sunday’s game at Real Valladolid fresh from perhaps the worst week in the entire history of the club. One by one, they saw their hopes in each of the remaining three competitions dashed, twice by Barcelona and then by a brilliant Ajax display in the Champions League. To add insult to injury, all three defeats came at home and Real essentially now have over five months until they next play a truly meaningful game.
You can read all our betting tips and predictions in our Valladolid vs Real Madrid match preview here.
There is some serious soul-searching to be done at the Bernabeu over the coming months. Santi Solari may or may not stumble on until the summer but there is absolutely no chance of him still being in charge when Real commence the 2019/20 season. Behind the scenes, the search for a new permanent manager has already began and a host of former Real Madrid coaches lead the race.
Back to the Future?
Zinedine Zidane – 1/4
📷 Throwback: Zidane, Cristiano, & Ramos pic.twitter.com/Lsw8TLtLW9
— RMadridHome (@RMadridHome_) March 7, 2019
The job Zinedine Zidane did looks all the more remarkable given the events of the past fortnight. However there is also a theory that he got out at just the right time. There were signs that this Real Madrid side was in decline in his final season in charge when Los Blancos finished a huge 17 points behind Barcelona in La Liga. That is greater than the current deficit and also came in a season when Real Madrid still had Cristiano Ronaldo.
To win 3 straight Champions Leagues was an extraordinary feat but the Real Madrid hierarchy never seemed truly convinced that Zidane was the real mastermind behind those successes and they certainly rode their luck at times. There has been big backing for Zidane in the ‘Next Real Madrid permanent manager’ market over the past 24 hours with rumours he has already been offered the job by Florentino Perez.
However there remain far too many uncertainties to consider backing him at 1/4. If the stories are to be believed, he has already turned the job for now but would consider a summer return. However on reflection, Zizou may well look at the impossible task of eclipsing what he achieved first time around, particularly with an ageing squad that may need a total overhaul in the next year or two. In many respects, there is no reason why he would risk the immense legacy he has built at the club by returning to the job so soon.
Jose Mourinho – 7/2
Jose Mourinho was the initial favourite and at 7/2, there looks to be much more value in backing the Portuguese boss to return to the Bernabeu. For starters, there can be no doubt that he would take the job. Having burned too many bridges to get another top job in England, Mourinho would jump at the chance to return to Real Madrid who he guided to the 2011-12 league title and in many respects laid the foundations for their return to the very top of the European game.
Despite a slightly bitter exit, he retains plenty of admirers amongst the Real Madrid hierarchy and contrary to his defensive reputation, Mourinho’s side actually set an all-time Spanish record for the most goals in a league season during his spell in charge. Many fans were chanting his name after Real’s humbling Champions League defeat to Ajax last week and certainly the notion that Mourinho is yesterday’s man isn’t quite as widely felt in Spain as in England.
Carlo Ancelotti – 66/1
In terms of a value outside bet, Carlo Ancelotti could be worth considering at 66/1. He was the man who of course delivered the decima, Real Madrid’s 10th European Cup win. He managed to get more out of Gareth Bale than any of the coaches that followed him, which is another reason why Real may turn to the Italian, with Bale still the man most capable of filling the considerable boots of Cristiano Ronaldo.
Ancelotti is currently employed by Napoli but it wouldn’t be impossible for Real Madrid to tempt him away and he certainly seems a more attainable target than the likes of Jurgen Klopp or Mauricio Pochettino. Managers of Ancelotti’s proven pedigree are few and far between and his character is more of the Zidane than Mourinho mould, which would make him a more appealing option certainly in the Real Madrid dressing room if they do decide to turn back to a former boss. However the odds certainly reflect that he isn’t Real’s preferred option by any means.
Antonio Conte – 22/1
Antonio Conte was strongly expected to take over at Real Madrid when Julen Lopetegui was sacked earlier this season. The likes of Sergio Ramos and Thibaut Courtois went fairly public with their reluctance to have someone as volatile as Conte take over and ultimately Florentino Perez did seem to take their concerns into account by appointing the much calmer figure of Santi Solari.
However on the back of such a dire week, Perez may decide that somebody like Conte is needed to go in and shake up this dressing room. There is a sense that some Real board members are keen for captain Sergio Ramos to move on in any case this summer when there is likely to be a large squad overhaul. Therefore a change in approach is very possible, which explains why Mourinho has been so strongly backed and it’s surprising that Conte isn’t shorter with the bookies given he is out of work, clearly has admirers in Madrid and would surely jump at the chance to take such a big job.
The other side of the coin is the sudden breakdown in talks earlier this season and pride may prevent at least one of Perez and Conte from returning to the negotiating table so soon.
Massimiliano Allegri – 22/1
Allegri to Real Madrid?
Guillem Balague says the Juve boss is the calibre of manager Real Madrid will be looking at for their next boss. pic.twitter.com/ZN0lS9D6cR
— Blessing ify (@Blessingifyy) March 8, 2019
Another Italian in the frame is Massimiliano Allegri. He has been in charge of Juventus since 2014 and has been very successful with the Old Lady on course for a 5th straight Serie A title under his stewardship. However fresh doubts have risen over his future over the past week with rumours he threatened to resign ahead of their recent top of the table clash with Napoli.
Clearly all is not well behind the scenes in Turin and if Allegri does become available, Real Madrid would certainly have to consider him. The main problem last summer after the shock resignation of Zidane was that Real Madrid were left with few obvious candidates of the pedigree they wanted. Lopetegui was ultimately their 4th choice while Solari was never someone they seriously wanted to appoint as their permanent boss. This summer could be very different if someone of the pedigree of Allegri become available. If Real Madrid are willing to bide their time, and in theory there is no rush given they are no longer competing for anything, the Italian could emerge as the outstanding candidate for the job.
Mauricio Pochettino – 22/1
It is no major secret that Florentino Perez wanted Mauricio Pochettino to become the new Real Madrid coach last summer. Nothing has really changed since then so Perez may come calling again. However despite frustrations at the lack of funds being made available to him at Tottenham, it still seems unlikely that Pochettino would walk out on the Spurs project, particularly as they finally move into their new stadium.
Therefore while Pochettino may remain Real Madrid’s dream appointment it doesn’t seem any more likely this summer than it did last. One problem when you are a club that shows virtually no patience in coaches and expects instant success is that many managers will simply be reluctant to take on the job despite the enormous prestige that goes with it. While Pochettino may one day end up at the Bernabeu, it’s very unlikely to be this year.