Florentino Perez completed his own décima with the signing of the ex-Napoli coach, under Perez’ 12-year tenure as president of the Real Madrid, ten coaches have come and gone. After an emotional introduction at the Bernabeu where Benitez said “I’m home” and became teary-eyed, the reception has been generally positive in Madrid with sports daily AS publishing a full page picture of the glassy-eyed trainer next to a Real Madrid crest and a headline saying “It’s in his blood.”
Perez, however, has an amount of control at the club that does not sit well with many managers, as Mourinho so sensationally found out, and is notoriously short on patience. So the question is: What does Benitez have to do to keep his job?
Here is a list of the previous ten managers, their tenure and accolades which might provide some insight into who stays and who goes at the richest club in the world.
Vicente del Bosque (1999 – 2003, 3 years 5 months)
Won: 2 La Liga titles, 1 Champions League, 2 Spanish Supercups, 1 Intercontinental cup.
Del Bosque has been Perez’ most successful manager, but was actually signed by Lorenzo Sanz. Del Bosque was to go on to manage the national side’s edad de oro – the golden age.
Carlos Quieroz (2003 – 2004, 11 months)
Won: 1 Spanish Supercup
The Alex Ferguson acolyte took over at a difficult moment of transition. The loss of Makelele, the man who invented a new position, in preseason and the absence of a replacement for Fernando Hierro, the Madrid stalwart, coupled with some failed experiments – Beckham in the middle being the most prominent – put paid to a short stint in the Spanish capital for Quieroz.
Jose Antonio Camacho (2004, 4 months)
The beginning of a period of instability saw Camacho come and go leaving nothing with his name on it. To say he lost the dressing room would be poor usage of the phrase, as you cannot lose something you never had. His attempts to keep Perez at distance from the dressing room were ill-fated and he walked saying that he did not feel he had the support of the players.
Mariano Garcia Remon (2004, 3 months)
Camacho’s assistant had little chance of reuniting club, players and supporters and lasted as a stopgap until Perez decided he could find something better.
Vanderlei Luxemburgo (2004-2005, 11 months)
Despite bringing in a high-profile dietician and turning match preparation into a party, Luxemburgo’s short stay was best characterised by his presiding over ‘Real, the movie’, a complete fiasco that fell flatter than his team-talks.
Juan Ramon Lopez Caro (2005-2006, 7 months)
The inexperienced manager from Castilla proved incapable of adapting to a much bigger role and was largely a bit-part actor in the context of the shock resignation of Florentino Perez. The club was so busy that it almost forgot Caro existed, and when it did they got rid of him.
Manuel Pelegrini (2009-2010, 1 year)
The first thing he asked for was that Schneider remain at the club, he was almost immediately sold, then he refused to relegate Raul to bit-part player and suddenly found a sustained campaign mounted against him in the Spanish press. Forced out by interests within the club, there is an important lesson here for Benitez.
Jose Mourinho (2010-2013, 3 years)
Won: 1 Copa Del Rey, 1 Spanish Supercup, 1 La Liga title
Mourinho was hired to stop the runaway train that was Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona, but found a difficult task dealing with a non-compliant Spanish press and a dressing-room full of World-Cup winners. Resistance to the marginalisation of Casillas and a leaky dressing room did not sit well with Mourinho’s with-me-or-against-me mentality and the Portuguese left the capital feeling unloved. Pep also outcupped him by about 2-1.
Carlo Ancelotti (2013-2015, 2 years)
Won: 1 Champions League, 1 Copa del Rey, 1 European Supercup, 1 World Club Cup
Brought solidarity back to a divided dressing room, found a place for Gareth Bale, reinstated Casillas and brought the decima home.
Rafa Benitez will have to win, and win fast to stay any length of time at the home of heightened aspiration and lofty ambition.