Sometimes, you get the feeling managing Real Madrid is a similar situation to being married to King Henry VIII—you arrive in the relationship to the backdrop of promises of a beautiful future together, yet at some point down the line you will find yourself out in the dark as it transpires your partner has turned their attention to someone new.
Maybe Los Blancos' recent managers should be happy they at least still have their heads.
Carlo Ancelotti, via The Guardian, became the next man to tie the knot with the club on Tuesday, and the Italian will arrive with the intention of outdoing the five men that went before him in a bid to avoid his strings being cut by Florentino Perez.
|Jose Mourinho||2010-2013||178||128||71.91%||La Liga, Copa del Rey, Supercopa|
|Bernd Schuster||2007-2008||75||44||58.67%||La Liga, Supercopa|
|Fabio Capello||2006-2007||50||28||56%||La Liga|
Fabio Capello was appointed back in 2006 to preside over a Madrid side which had remained baron—discounting Carlos Queiroz's Supercopa—since the departure of Vicente del Bosque in 2003.
But, despite bringing the La Liga title back to the Spanish capital, it was a difficult season for the Italian manager.
Fans and media criticized his defensive approach, and they had a point. Against Getafe, when Madrid when down to a 1-0 defeat, Capello's side failed to register a single shot on target—that's blasphemous as far as MARCA and AS would have been concerned.
Difficulties with David Beckham and Antonio Cassano, his fellow countryman, also gripped the headlines, while a failure to draw any sort of fitness or form from the Brazilian Ronaldo was problematic too.
Around the unrest, Champions League defeat to Bayern Munich looked to be the catalyst for Capello to say goodbye. However, it instead transpired into the moment Madrid's season turned around. Real went on a run which would seem them pinch the league from Barca courtesy of a better head-to-head record over their Catalan rivals.
It changed nothing though. The damage had already been done and, 11 days later, Ramon Calderon wielded the axe on Capello's head stating, via the BBC, "We've laid the foundations but we need to find a more enthusiastic way of playing."
German coach Bernd Schuster followed Capello—the man himself paying Getafe €480,000 to leave his contract according to World Soccer—and so did another another La Liga triumph.
However, despite winning the league with a then record 85 points, a Champions League defeat to Roma seemed to cast a gloomy shadow over Schuster's first season as top dog at the Bernabeu.
Into his second season and things spiraled out of control fairly quickly. Having fallen out with media—Schuster would often bite at their bait—things got really tough for him when his Madrid side were knocked out of the Copa del Rey by Real Union. They got tougher again when Juventus completed a Champions League double over them and Real Valladolid trumped them 1-0 in the league.
Schuster had lost touch with what was going on. He was trying 4-3-3, 4-2-3-1 and even 4-4-2 with four central midfielders. After further defeats to Getafe and Sevilla, it was time to file for divorce.
Juande Ramos soon replaced him, going from the departed at Tottenham to the imported at Real Madrid—much to the shock of English football fans who had witnessed firsthand his spectacular failure at White Hart Lane.
And, despite defeat to Barcelona in his first league game, the former Sevilla boss led Madrid on an impressive run. Following that defeat in El Clasico, they won 17 out of their next 18 La Liga matches, drawing the other one with Atletico Madrid; they had gone from struggling to make the top four to title challengers.
Amidst that run there was another Champions League exit though—5-0 on aggregate to Liverpool this time—and by the time they ended the season with five straight defeats, there were no worries of this fling becoming a permanent marriage.
Next to say "I do" was Villarreal boss Manuel Pellegrini. He arrived at the club around the same time as Florentino Perez returned to the presidency and, as he wasn't Perez's man, his struggles began from day one. The Guardian's Sid Lowe had this to say of Pellegrini's tenure in Madrid:
He had no say in the €258m spent, nor in the fact that Wesley Sneijder and Arjen Robben were sold. In his first press conference he said he was counting on Sneijder. Eleven days later he had gone. That year the Champions League final was held at the Bernabeu: Sneijder and Robben both played.
The Chilean also had to do without Cristiano Ronaldo for a significant chunk of the season, but still managed to steer Los Blancos to a club record 96 points—only missing out to that Barcelona side, who had amassed 99 points.
Still, it was still a trophy-less season and wasn't enough for Pellegrini. Perez had beheaded him long before the actual ceremony, with Inter Milan's Jose Mourinho the man lined up to take his place.
And we all know how that one went...