Analysis: Who are the best options to replace Carlo Ancelotti if he leaves Real Madrid?

Carlo Ancelotti’s future at Real Madrid is up for debate. Sunday’s defeat in El Clasico left Los Blancos 12 points behind Barcelona in the La Liga title race, which is surely an insurmountable deficit, even for Real Madrid.

On top of that, Real Madrid are on the brink of being knocked out of the Copa del Rey, after losing 1-0 in the first leg of their semi-final tie against Barcelona at the Santiago Bernabeu.

That would leave just the Champions League, but with a quarter-final against Chelsea, and a possible semi-final against either Manchester City or Bayern Munich, retaining their crown will be far from easy.

Failure to win the Champions League for a second successive season could see Ancelotti lose his job in the summer, as Florentino Perez is usually not one to rest of his laurels in terms of success.

Furthermore, Ancelotti could decide to leave on his own accord, having been linked with the vacant managerial position at the Brazil national team. Ederson appeared to tease that the Italian could make the switch, and it’s certainly a possibility.

If Ancelotti were to leave, Fichajes have stated that five candidates will vie to become the next Real Madrid head coach: Mauricio Pochettino, Thomas Tuchel, Xabi Alonso, Raul Gonzalez and Jose Mourinho.

Pochettino had success at Tottenham Hotspur, albeit without winning a trophy, and despite winning Ligue 1 with Paris Saint-Germain, he failed to bring the Champions League back to the French capital. On top of that, there were rumblings of discontent in the PSG dressing room during his reign, and at a team like Real Madrid, it’d only be more difficult to deal with. As such, it’s difficult to believe that he’d be a suitable candidate.

Tuchel is perhaps the most likely to succeed Ancelotti. He has success at PSG, although like Pochettino, failed to win the Champions League – although he did win it with Chelsea in 2020/21. The German has a good CV, having also managed Borussia Dortmund.

However, like Pochettino, there could be arguments over his ability to command a squad like Real Madrid. There are rumours that he lost the dressing room as Chelsea manager (as per The Daily Mail), and again, it’d only be more difficult in the Spanish capital.

Raul Gonzalez and Xabi Alonso both have much less experience in management, but there’s an argument to suggest that both would command respect from the Real Madrid squad – the former especially.

Raul is one of the greatest forwards in Real Madrid history, and there is little doubt that he is a legend at the Santiago Bernabeu. The Real Madrid squad are well aware of his achievements as a player, and at Castilla, he is turning heads with the young side.

Raul has parallels with Zinedine Zidane, who also rose through the ranks at Real Madrid to take over as head coach, and his first spell was one of the greatest times in the club’s recent history.

Alonso has been excellent since taking over at Bayer Leverkusen, and like Raul, has had experience not only with playing for Real Madrid, but also as a youth coach. The 41-year-old’s stock is rising, and there’s scope for him to return to Real Madrid in the summer.

Jose Mourinho is the wild card of the five candidates. Having already managed at Real Madrid, and been successful, Perez is well aware of the Portuguese’s ability, and there’s little doubt that he’d command the respect that comes with being Real Madrid manager. He still has the hunger for football management, and a return, although unlikely, is not impossible.

Perez will have a tough job identifying the right man for the head coach position at Real Madrid, but he will certainly not be short on candidates for one of the biggest jobs in world football.

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