With Carlo Ancelotti’s future at Real Madrid far from secure, the announcement that Jurgen Klopp will leave Borussia Dortmund at the end of the season is sure to raise some eyebrows among Madridistas.
Klopp has many admirers in the white half of Spain due to Borussia Dortmund’s outstanding performances against Madrid in recent Champions League campaigns, notably a thrilling semi-final victory two years ago which consigned Jose Mourinho’s final season in charge at the Bernabeu to the file marked ‘Failure’.
Klopp moving to Madrid is far from unimaginable, although one giant figure is standing in the way of such an eventuality: Zinedine Zidane.
It is well known that club president Florentino Perez, a huge admirer of the Frenchman, is grooming Zidane for the managerial seat at the Bernabeu.
Klopp decision to leave Dortmund comes with, potentially, several big jobs looming this summer – Real Madrid, Man City, Barca… Arsenal?
— Richard Conway (@richard_conway) April 15, 2015
Perez was responsible for initially appointing Zidane as Ancelotti’s assistant in the summer of 2013, and then took the step of moving Zidane into the position of coaching the club’s reserve team at the start of the current campaign – risking the wrath of the authorities as Zidane did not possess the necessary qualifications to hold a managerial post.
However, the plan for Zidane to seamlessly replace Ancelotti is hitting something of a stumbling block due to the fact that his spell in charge of the reserves is proving rather unsuccessful.
Having suffered relegation from the Segunda Division at the end of last season, Zidane was believed to have a straightforward task in leading the team to promotion, but a recent run of four straight defeats has left them down in fifth place, eight points behind leaders Huesca with just five games remaining.
Martin Ødegaard refusing to train with the Real Madrid reserve side, Zidane drops him. But who could have seen this coming, eh?
— Cian Carroll (@CianByName) April 8, 2015
Furthermore, wonderkid signing Martin Odegaard is settling badly and was recently dropped after failing to integrate with his teammates, leading one to wonder how Zidane would cope with managing the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo if he can’t even deal with a stroppy teenager.
All of this assumes, of course, that the managerial position will be vacated by Ancelotti in the summer, and that is by no means certain.
It feels faintly ridiculous to suggest that a manager who won the Champions League last season, is close to the semi-finals this season and also challenging strongly for La Liga might be in danger of losing his job.
Such, though, are the demands of life at Real Madrid, given the relentless scrutiny of an unforgiving media and a famously fickle fanbase.
Over the last few months it has been notable that neither Ancelotti nor president Perez have ever asserted with any confidence that the Italian coach will still be in place next season, with Perez going no further than stating that Ancelotti will be in charge for “days and weeks” at a recent press conference.
It is no coincidence that very few managers survive the Bernabeu rollercoaster for more than one season.
Mourinho’s three years (2010-2013) were very much an exception, with none of the eight men who preceded him lasting for more than 18 months.
Madrid is an energy-sapping club and, after everything he’s been through, Ancelotti may not have the stomach for any more – even if his team ends up winning the Liga and Champions League double.
In that context, Jurgen Klopp’s next stop could very well be Real Madrid.
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