If you read Spanish newspapers, it seems that the departure of Jose Mourinho from his position as the head coach of Real Madrid is a done deal, whether or not he finishes this season with a Champions League trophy (La Décima, the 10th) or not. The question isn’t just where does he go, but who comes instead of him?
Mourinho has such a strong personality, such incredible charisma and an ambitious streak to him made him reach a bit too far in Madrid. Trying to become greater than the club. Mourinho loves the attention. That’s why players so often love him. He takes, or used to take, all the bullets for them. But things have changed with Real Madrid, where too many power struggles and conflicting views on how a madridista should behave might lead to the end of his time with the club after three seasons instead of staying there for life, like he declared a few times in the past.
The breakdown with Florentino Perez; his problems with Sergio Ramos and Iker Casillas, not realizing just how strong they are in the dressing room; his constant battles with Jorge Valdano and Emilio Butragueno for total control and power in the club. According to everything that’s being said about and out of the club, Mourinho, eventually, is losing those battles against a culture of a club that’s not willing to bend to his wills. Perez hasn’t made the decision yet, but it looks like everyone feels this is the last time. Despite his league title last season, there’s just too much bad from the Mourinho tenure, especially with the Barcelona hegemony presiding above everything, to consider it a huge success. Maybe a small one, depends on how this season ends.
But all the talk in recent weeks has been about who will take Mourinho (almost everyone) and where will he go, and not enough about the future of Real Madrid. Who can replace such a character that eventually, will probably end up with one league title in three seasons, which isn’t considered such a success at a club that always sees things as first or bust?
Big names? Manages like Carlo Ancelotti, Guss Hiddink (again) or Fabio Capello (again) aren’t a long haul thing, and probably never were. Just big names who demand big salaries and perfect conditions before they move on to the next high paying job. That actually fits the Real Madrid of not too long ago, but that shouldn’t be their aim. How about promoting from within, gambling on someone young?
Last time Real Madrid went for the unknown, it ended up in the disastrous Carlos Quieroz season, which they finished at the 4th position. He now manages the Iranian national team. Before that? Benito Floro in 1992 is the only young head coach Real actually put their faith in, spending a season and a half with the club, leaving with only a Copa del Rey.
So who’s out there that’s a big name but can also be regarded as someone who might be here to stay? Germany seems to be the trend, and the two most popular names are Joachim Low and Jurgen Klopp.
Low is part, or the biggest part, of the revolution that the German national team went through since 2004. No titles yet – A Euro final, A World Cup semifinal and a Euro semifinal. Nothing to complain about, but it seems to be just short of the goal each time. Is it his fault or is it the players under him?
Klopp is probably the hottest name in the market besides the free agent Pep Guardiola. He has turned Dortmund into an empire once more, at least on the pitch. Two Bundesliga titles and now, after a testy first year in the Champions League, it looks like his team can go a long way, also out playing Real Madrid, twice.
Just speculations at this point. Jose Mourinho is here for at least a few more months, and who knows what wins might bring with them. Still, it looks like Real Madrid, their executives at least, are growing tired of the special one. The next one they’ll take won’t try to become greater than the club. Mourinho will move on to a team that might let him.