No sooner had Julen Lopetegui been sacked as Real Madrid boss on Monday that the rumour mills go on overdrive, speculating on the candidates who could step in as a replacement, even as Santiago Solari was upgraded from the club’s team B to handle the first team.
But of all the possible replacements being bandied, only five names have remained constant as the team finalises plans to make a huge leap geared towards returning it to its former pride of place.
Hotsportstv.com takes a look at these candidates and their chances of nicking the job.
Antonio Conte was long associated with the Real Madrid job long before Lopetegui was sacked.
There are reports that club president, Florentine Perez had contacted him even when the former manager was struggling to eke out the right results that could have saved his job.
The reason the former Chelsea boss was not immediately named Madrid’s substantive coach after Lopetegui was sacked on Monday may not be unconnected with his insistence on a two and a half year contract as well as a backroom of five assistant coaches.
Besides his temperament is seen not to be suited to unifying the dressing room and managing the egos of the big name players.
Conte is not popular with the Madrid players with captain Sergio Ramos saying recently,” “Respect has to be earned, not imposed,”
However, a section of the Los Blancos top hierarchy believes that Conte who won titles in the Italian Serie A, as well as the English Premier League, could turn out a positive gamble once an agreement can be reached.
He may have recently signed an extension to his contract as Tottenham Hotspur manager but that has not stopped speculations that have perennially linked him to a move to the Santiago Bernabeu.
The Argentine gaffer’s name first popped up in the headlines about a possible move to the Spanish giants last season but had been quelled after they opted to sign Lopetegui following Zinedine Zidane’s abrupt exit.
But with the club suddenly finding itself in dire straits this team, Pochettino has once again been put on red alert as his present romance with Tottenham could end suddenly Pochettino’s desire to coach a bigger team, as well as his present club’s lack of ambition, could be the major attraction that might sway him to move out of London and head to Spain.
It is no longer a secret that Roberto Martinez craves a return to club management after having had a successful stint as Belgium coach.
The former Wigan coach who took Belgium as far as the semi-finals of the Russia 2018 World Cup has suddenly popped up as a favourite to clinch the coveted job.
Real Madrid’s desire to bring Eden Hazard to the Santiago Bernabeu next summer could be one of the factors that could instigate a move for Martinez who is also believed to have the temperament as well as the technical abilities to shoot the team out of its present doldrums.
Arsenal’s greatest ever manager has been out of work since leaving the London club after 22 years in the summer.
The Frenchman recently revealed that he would return to club management in January.
Wenger has long been a target of Real Madrid and was coveted by the Spanish giants on more than one occasion during his years at the Emirate Stadium.
He is a respectable and non-confrontational figure who would command immediate respect from the dressing room and his trademark attacking football would be welcomed by both players and fans.
José María Gutiérrez Hernández, known as Guti, is a Spanish footballer legend who played as an attacking midfielder.
He is along the theme of Real Madrid legends being groomed in the system for the top job, a la Zidane, Guti appears top of that list.
The former midfielder spent 15 years as a Madrid player, winning five La Liga titles and three Uefa Champions Leagues, and is an all-time fan favourite, both for his contributions to the team and as a local boy.
Guti began his coaching career with the Real Madrid youth teams, with whom he spent five years, before joining Turkish giants Besiktas as assistant manager to Senol Gunes in the summer.
Like Zidane, Guti would gain the instant respect of the squad and would be given far more support and patience from Madrid’s demanding supporters than other managers have been afforded.