Tuesday, 1 June 2010

OSM - Another Temporary Manager for Madrid?

Over recent years we have seen the great Alfredo di Stefano as the constant at given he appears every time a new player or managerial signing is made and has outlasted them all. Indeed Chairmen are not even safe either as Florentino Perez returns after a short absence from the club following the failure of his “Galacticos” project a few years ago.

This week the Real Madrid 1960’s legend appeared alongside the 21st Century “Special One”, Jose Mourinho, hoping that the Portuguese man will bring more success to the club that Di Stefano still remembers too well at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium. The kind of success that the Argentinian player brought between 1953 to 1964 that included 8 League titles and five European Cups. But as a former club manager of Real Madrid himself, Di Stefano knows though that dreams are easier than reality in football.

The level of managerial change at Madrid during the past decade has seen eleven managers take up the challenge in as many years and none faring better than Vicente del Bosque, who it must be recalled, was let go by Florentino Perez in 2003 because he was looking for a big name to manage his "Galacticos".

To this day Del Bosque's record exceeds the achievements of those who replaced him during those ten years as he won at a minimum - two La Liga titles and two Champions Leagues between the 2001 and 2003 seasons. Since he left the illustrious names that replaced him have fared no better and as he manages Spain to the 2010 World Cup Del Bosque is now more focussed on the National team following up on the EURO 2008 victory

The return of Perez as Chairman has signalled more changes in management and the Chilean incumbent for the last season, Manuel Pellegrini, came from Villa Real with a reputation for good football, Champions League results and good player choice. Until Kaka, Ronaldo and Benzema were signed for him.

From that moment a spend of about €250M on players and the Champions League final in the Santiago Bernabeu at the end of the season the club’s objective was to win the tournament on home soil – and to complete the dream – win it against the 2009 Champions and arch rivals, Barcelona.

But a Copa del Rey defeat to lowly Alcobendas put the Chilean under pressure early on and accompanied by some poor form, when Barcelona won the Derby in Madrid, the manager’s days were numbered. With a role still left to play in the Champions League Madrid earned a place in the quarter finals and went to Lyon to secure an away draw. However, in the home leg a stunning second half burst by the French team saw Real Madrid out of the Champions League and Pellegrini on the ropes – with the La Liga title only a mathematical possibility.

In the end Barcelona did not slip up again winning a back to back La Liga title and Madrid facing another year with a space in their trophy cabinet and once again a manager packing his bags unable to deliver on the Florentino Perez “Project”.

Pellegrini succeeded in 2009/10 the former Spurs and Sevilla Manager, Juande Ramos, who came mid season to a vacancy left by Bernd Schuster in 2008. For a time the team responded but in the end Real were undone by Barcelona under the guidance of Pep Guardiola that played open and attacking football – as evoked by club stalwart Johan Cruyff - and rendered a treble for the Catalan team – the Copa del Rey, La Liga and Champions League.

On the foot of that evidence, Ramos, was given his marching orders.

Bernd Schuster joined the club in July, 2007 on the foot of some great results with the modest Madrid Club, Getafe, where the club reached the Cup final and won some vital matches during the season against bigger named opponents. Hailed dangerously as the next hero the former Real Madrid and Barcelona player got to work with a squad that in part was not of his choosing and included an increasing Dutch contingent of Drenthe, Van Nistelrooy, Sneijder, Van der Vaart, Arjen Robben and Huntelaar.

Despite the tensions the German in the end won a La Liga title, almost by a record number of points, and the Spanish Super Cup. But somehow after a slow start to the following 2008/09 season and a few ill advised comments to leading sports daily MARCA Bernd Schuster was on his way too.

In 2006 Fabio Capello did what only a handful of managers have chosen to do at Real Madrid – including John Toshack, Leo Benhaaker; Alfredo Di Stefano. Miguel Munoz – he returned to the club for a second stint in an effort to repeat the magic and win La Liga as in his previous stay. For Cappello the challenge was the same but included a poorly performing Beckham – whom he sidelined for a while – restructuring the team with a more defensive focus - as is his want.

On the last day of the season the cub did win the title with Real Madrid coming back from a 0-1 deficit to beat Mallorca 3-1 in the Bernabeu clinching the title on head-to-head statistics against Barcelona. Although Cappello had achieved what the others had failed to do coming back to Madrid he was rewarded with a flight back to Italy and no new contract.

Juan Ramon Lopez Caro came to Madrid in late 2005 and was gone by the following summer as the former manager of Castilla – the Real Madrid second team - failed to impress despite a promising reputation inside the famous club.

In 2004 the Brazilian contingent of Ronaldo, Roberto Carlos and Robinho had a fellow countryman at the helm as Vanderlei Luxemburgo came to Real Madrid hoping that he could secure success by managing the inconsistent Brazilian stars. Despite a lengthy CV and successes in his homeland Luxemburgo came no closer to delivering on the dreams and was also on his way.

Prior to Luxemburgo it was the former Real Madrid goalkeeper Mariano Garcia Remon who had to take over when his team mate and colleague, Jose Antonio Camacho, was given the boot less than 45 days into his reign at the club.

In the 2003/2004 season former Manchester United assistant coach Carlos Queiroz came to Madrid but saw the lead his club had over Valencia in la Liga evaporate with five games to go and under pressure the Madrid Stars failed to perform. The final straw came in an away game to Murcia, managed by John Toshack, where the Galacticos lost their fifth consecutive game with Beckham also sent off for a bad tackle.

With three games left to play Rafa Benitez and Valencia were declared winners of La Liga with Queiroz returning to United and Rafa going to Liverpool.

In hindsight Queiroz was clearly not the big name that was to change the fortunes of Real Madrid for Perez when he took over from Del Bosque who in the November 1999 had been appointed as the temporary manager as he was a club man and was a safe pair of hands after the departure in the preceding eighteen months of John Toshack and Gus Hiddink.

As temporary managers go his time at Real Madrid was not all bad and a formula that Di Stefano might recommend given it brought six trophies in four years. History recalls that the big full time managers have not been able to do any better that the temporary man so far.

Hopefully Di Stefano will start to enjoy the work of the “Special One” and a return of those hallowed days of a bygone era when winning a league or a European title was a matter of course. So far Mourinho has made a career of winning titles at whatever club he has managed.

Maybe the coming years will be a special time for Real Madrid once again and Di Stefano can take a break from welcoming new managers and just start filling those spaces in the trophy cabinet.

Rossa McDermott ©

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think he will do well. Madrid need him after all these managers!