Real Madrid’s season may have finished on a seven-goal high this weekend, but the post-Christmas slump which saw the club lose control of La Liga to Barcelona and exit the Champions League to Juventus is the real story of recent weeks.
– President’s Cup: Holders Al Ain crash out to Al Nasr
President Florentino Perez is notoriously trigger-happy and pressure is mounting on head coach Carlo Ancelotti, with the Italian having failed to win the league title in two attempts with the Spanish giants.
A Champions League triumph in his first season would be enough to ensure long-term safety at many clubs, but this is Perez and Real Madrid.
Our #360debate today is: Should Carlo Ancelotti be sacked as Real Madrid head coach?
James Piercy, Deputy Editor, thinks YES.
Carlo Ancelotti is a gentleman and deserves more respect than he has been afforded by Florentino Perez, however the fact remains he has failed at Real Madrid.
Yes, there was the Copa del Rey and Champions League title last term but Real were just over a minute away from a 1-0 defeat in the latter, which would have cost Ancelotti his job 12 months ago.
The fact they won it, rather flatteringly in extra-time, merely prolonged the Italian’s existence in the Bernabeu dugout as it was evident then he wasn’t the right fit.
Last season was a huge missed opportunity; Barcelona were average at best under Tata Martino and while Atletico Madrid’s title triumph was a remarkable feat, Real could and should have won it with the resources they had.
They were probably a better, certainly more balanced, side than this season. Nobody in Spain could have had any complaints that Atletico were worthy winners and that, in itself, speaks volumes of Madrid’s season. Martino, whose Barcelona finished on 87 points with Real, wasn’t given a second chance
But having been saved by the Champions League, Ancelotti was given €130m (Dh525m) worth of new players and again couldn’t do the job.
There are underlying issues in amongst all this, most notably how much Perez’s meddling in the market has undermined his manager. But Ancelotti, as he himself admits, knows what’s expected.
Tweet by Cristiano endorsing Ancelotti,wishing to work with him next year.It just says all: squad doing all they can to convince Florentino
— Tancredi Palmeri (@tancredipalmeri) May 23, 2015
If he can’t operate with Perez’s scattergun transfer policy or try and provide opposition to it, there isn’t much point in sticking around.
He remains popular in the dressing room but notably he has been unable to coax consistent seasons out of Gareth Bale, Raphael Varane and Dani Carvajal, three younger players who have gone backwards.
His unwavering faith in Iker Casillas, while the World Cup’s best goalkeeper, Keylor Navas, sat on the bench, cost them points and his constant overlooking of Sami Khedira when Madrid were crying out for greater midfield stability is baffling.
There has been no development from last year, and it would be fruitless for the impatient Perez to afford him a third chance.
Andy West, La Liga correspondent, thinks NO.
Even for a man as notoriously impatient as Madrid president Florentino Perez, sacking Carlo Ancelotti would be a terribly short-sighted move.
It is true that Ancelotti’s season has not been perfect, with Real’s poor performances in several big games – such as their Champions League semi-final with Juventus and a woeful La Liga thrashing against Atletico Madrid – falling well short of expected standards.
But there were extenuating circumstances, not the least of which was a string of injuries to key players – especially Luka Modric, whose absence for much of the season deprived the team of its chief link between midfield and attack.
Great coach and amazing person. Hope we work together next season. pic.twitter.com/HqHHGjGGUH
— Cristiano Ronaldo (@Cristiano) May 23, 2015
It should not be forgotten that Ancelotti spent the autumn leading Madrid to a new Spanish record of 22 straight victories, finishing 2014 with victory in the FIFA Club World Cup to become the first manager in the club’s history to win four trophies in a calendar year.
The prospect of dumping the coach who masterminded those triumphs just a few months later is patently ridiculous and, rather than lapsing into such an overreaction, Perez needs to realise that his ‘Galacticos’ transfer strategy, which routinely recruits unnecessary players while ignoring more pressing needs, is the biggest obstacle to sustained success for Real Madrid.
Perez, indeed, only has to look within his own organisation to discover an example of how to build a successful squad.
In 2013 and 2014, Madrid’s basketball team fell agonisingly short of winning their most important trophy, suffering defeat in consecutive Euroleague finals.
Rather than axing coach Pablo Laso and foisting a batch of glamorous but unneeded new signings upon the team, Perez left the club’s basketball section in peace to make their own changes.
Laso stayed, recruited a string of unheralded but hard-nosed new players to toughen up his team, and was duly rewarded with a convincing triumph in last weekend’s Euroleague final against Olympiacos.
Perez should learn from the lesson of the basketball team, leave Ancelotti in place and give the coach the unhindered ability to make all recruitment decisions.