Tim Stannard on the less than surprising ousting of Carlo Ancelotti from the Santiago Bernabeu hot seat...
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It is entirely possible that Florentino Pérez has done something really, really stupid. Up there with the letting-go of Vicente del Bosque and Claude Makélélé stupid. That big.
LLL is more than happy to quantify and qualify the stupidity of the Real Madrid president sacking Carlo Ancelotti in three basic ways.
The first is that Pérez has now decided to go against the wishes of the mighty trio of the media, the supporters and the players, who are all pretty much in the majority in thinking that the concept of Ancelotti being in charge of Real Madrid is a very good thing.
Madrid footballers have tweeted and spoken about their support of the Italian, fans in polls have expressed a desire to see the coach carry on at least until the end of his deal in 2016, while there is little evidence in the press of anyone with an axe to grind against the manager that delivered the Champions League trophy to the Santiago Bernabéu. Even before the confirmation on Monday, the feeling is that Ancelotti has done reasonably well in the face of the squad meddling of his boss.
“Nobody at [Florentino Pérez’s] level as stopped to think that perhaps it would be good to keep Ancelotti and focus on the team, using the head rather than the chequebook,” wrote Roberto Palomar in Marca. “The plan is that there is no plan. Nine coaches in 12 years demonstrate this,” were the stern words of Oscar Campillo in the same paper. When Manuel Pellegrini was disposed of in 2010, huge sections of the press and supporters wanted a stronger, more dominant figure both in the dressing room and the touchline. Especially when knowing that the hiring of José Mourinho was just around the corner.
When the Portuguese boss was shown the exit door two years ago, there was a united band of footballers, writers and also supporters that could not wait to see the back of the trouble-making tyke. Florentino only has his own hot air to keep the concept of sacking Ancelotti as a good thing afloat.
The second big, stupid thing is that there is no strong candidate to take over. No Mourinho, no Ancelotti, no managerial Goliath waiting in the wings. Unless you count Rafa Benitez. Which nobody does. Not even Rafa Benitez. The fact that opinion polls on Ancelotti’s replacement show most potential candidates dithering about in the low 20s reflects a collective ‘meh’ over the Italian’s replacement. Instead, a pragmatism exists and the feeling that Carlo Ancelotti would be the best person to take over from Carlo Ancelotti.
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Number three is perhaps the biggest of all. The Italian boss is a really good manager. Really good. Ancelotti has won a whole bunch of trophies and there was a good chance that he would win a bunch more if he continued his tenure at Real and was given some kind of say in who his players were, going forward.
Instead, which ever poor sap takes over this summer is going to have the haunting image of a permanently-raised eyebrow over their shoulder on the Bernabéu bench like the Cheshire Cat’s smile, a reminder that someone else would have been better placed to take Real Madrid forward.