Things have been pretty eventful for La Liga’s top two. Last Sunday marked Xavi’s final, melancholy goodbye to Barcelona, and yesterday, Real Madrid fans (ranging from new to old) said goodbye – in rather frustrating fashion – to Carlo Ancelotti.
Carlo Ancelotti had a blueprint – albeit, an unfinished one – until hot-shot moneymaker president Florentino Perez used his complete autonomy to make one of the most ridiculous footballing decisions in recent memory by sacking Ancelotti.
It has been said throughout the footballing world: What does it take to keep your job these days? Cristiano Ronaldo lobbied the best he could to keep Ancelotti. James Rodriguez, Sergio Ramos and Toni Kroos all had great things to say about the departure of their beloved manager, probably in the most somber way possible that wasn’t on Twitter.
I’m really not sure why a manager of The Brow’s (non-Anthony Davis division) tactical acumen was given the pink slip. Carlo has done very important things, like being one of only two managers to have won the Champions League three times and managing some of the best squads football has seen, like the mid 2000s Milan squads (now, if only he had won in 2005, then the resume would be even more impressive), at a time where Serie A was the top-drawer domestic league juggernaut. And his Madrid resume wasn’t bad at all, either. In his two seasons, he had won four trophies, one more than what Jose Mourinho accomplished in Spain.
But then again, this is Florentino Perez we’re talking about, the same guy who refused to give Vincente Del Bosque a new contract, despite winning the league and acting as the team’s behavioral counselor (I’m sure Steve McManaman and some guy named Zinedine Zidane can attest to this), as well as calling Claude Makélélé “average.” The following year, with no Del Bosque or Makelele, Real Madrid did jack shit and fans played the hindsight game by saying “they should have kept Makélélé!”
Twelve years of Perez begat two UCLs, three La Ligas, and a couple of Copas. In that same period, twelve managers have gone and presidential terms have been given to him like food stamps to people on welfare. And while during that time, Real Madrid has been turned into the footballing equivalent of Disney (which has always been a long term goal of Perez’s), the footballing project has suffered as a result. His Galacticos policy has sold a lot of shirts, but it has minimized the capability of a trophy.
Over a billion euros (billion!) have been spent on players throughout FloPe’s reign. But abolishing the Galacticos way of thinking is like a sailor flying an airplane, it doesn’t make any sense to him, nor does it make sense to most of his staunchest supporters. Instead, he’s just thrown himself into another needless managerial quagmire, which is “Who am I replacing Carlo Ancelotti with/Why the fuck am I replacing Carlo Ancelotti in the first place?”
Whoever is appointed as Real Madrid’s manager (whether it’s Rafa Benitez or not), that person must brace for impact, because the club owner has a severe case of the “saying-dumb-things syndrome” and “instant success syndrome.” As Sid Lowe has mentioned on Twitter, it’s not that there’s a loss of faith in the manager at Real Madrid; it’s that there’s no faith in him to begin with. Even if high praise is given to Ancelotti’s potential successor, (like Del Bosque gave to Rafa), it doesn’t matter, because, well, just look at prior history.
Most notably, despite Real Madrid scoring 102 goals and amassing 96 points, Manuel Pellegrini lost out on the title to Barcelona in the 2009-10 season and was given the sack because of the Galacticos policy – Pellegrini was succeeded by Jose Mourinho, a managerial galactico – and their Round of 16 Champions League exit to Lyon. (And Madrid fans wonder why the footballing world jokes about their transfer policies)
Ancelotti has everything a club wants in a manager. He has the positive resume, tactical knowledge and ego management on and off the pitch. No matter what sport it is, the media always harps on having a manager or a grizzled veteran that can deal with multiple locker room personalities.
What happened to Carlo Ancelotti is exactly what happened with Manuel Pellegrini during his time at Los Blancos, and it is what will likely happen to most, if not all, Real Madrid managers under Perez. The fans and players had tremendous support, yet the evil emperor disregarded the people’s sentiment.
Perez is football’s version of James Dolan: A clueless billionaire businessman that only looks to pull off business transactions that are suited for himself and not the franchise as a collective. And if, somehow, the transaction seems to be the right decision for the club for once, the decision would turn out to flounder in the end.
Remember, to someone like Florentino Perez, long term planning is inferior to a quick fix.