Real Madrid have confirmed that they will be parting company with the self-proclaimed special one, Jose Mourinho, at the end of the season.
The news won’t surprise many as Mourinho has repeatedly upset the Madrid hierarchy by making bold claims and then failing to deliver on them. The Champions League failure being viewed by many as the final nail in Mourinho’s coffin.
It would appear the special one has his heart set on a return to Chelsea and again, this wouldn’t surprise many due to Mourinho’s already well-established roots in London and his documented love of the Premier League. Having reportedly agreed a compensation package with Madrid, it seems only a matter of time before the Portuguese’s approval is rubber stamped by Roman Abramovich.
What is going to be interesting about this managerial carousel is who the potential replacement is going to be at Madrid. Many media outlets have run with the story that Carlo Ancelotti is just about certain to replace Mourinho and, as a result, his odds have been slashed by the bookmakers.
However, PSG president Nasser Al Khelaifi has been speaking to the press about the possible appointment of Ancelotti at Real Madrid and had this to say on the matter:
“Yes, we had discussions; he asked to depart for Real Madrid. I said it is not possible because he has a contract for one more year, so that is our decision.”
With that short, sharp statement, Al Khelaifi appears to have dashed any hope Ancelotti had of becoming Madrid manager, and it’s now likely Ancelotti will be made to honor his contract in France.
One name that hasn’t been thrown into the mix and would be ideal for Madrid is that of Rafa Benitez. The Spaniard is a free agent after his interim position at Chelsea and has proved to be very effective in his second stint in Premier League management.
Benitez wouldn’t cost anywhere near as much as Mourinho or Ancelotti, and also has the advantage over Mourinho at this point in time having achieved this season what Mourinho couldn’t: win a European trophy.
Benitez has a good grasp of the Spanish game, having guided Valencia to the La Liga title in 2002 and 2004, as well as a good scouting network in the country to provide an influx of young talented players should Madrid need them.
Although Benitez is a self-confessed Anglophile whose family is settled in England, I believe the allure of managing a club like Madrid will prove too strong for the Spaniard to resist. This saga is set to run for a while yet however and should Madrid make Benitez an offer, he certainly has the nous and the experience to succeed where so many have previously failed.