Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti struggling to hold onto the job
Madrid, May 20 (IANS) Real Madrid's Italian coach Carlo Ancelotti is struggling to cling onto his job, even after leading the team to a much-yearned, record-stretching 10th European crown last year.
The current football season has been a failure for the Spanish powerhouses, with bitter rivals FC Barcelona lifting the La Liga title, five days after Madrid's Champions League defence was halted at the semi-final stage by Italian champions Juventus, reports Xinhua.
Madrid's ego will be bruised even more that Juventus will face Barcelona in the Champions League final. Barcelona will take on Athletic Club Bilbao in the King's Cup, Spain's domestic knockout tournament on May 30, after Real's interest was ended in the last 16 stage by Atletico Madrid.
It is not to say that Madrid have not ended the season without silverware. But their European Supercup triumph, lifted in August last year and the World Club Championship win in December is mere consolation pizes, especially in the back of another year of heavy spending.
Failure is always hard to take for Real Madrid, their fans and their president Florentino Perez. And despite leading the club to the much-desired "Decima" or 10th Champions League title last season, Ancelotti's future at the club is shaky.
Ancelotti brought stability and calmness to a club in turmoil during the 2013-14 season after Portuguese coach Jose Mourinho's three-year reign left the team divided and fractious. But for Perez and Madrid, past triumphs matter little.
Now, Ancelotti's ability to spread calmness, to be the peacemaker is seen as a weakness, which has stopped him from disciplining certain players and the need to take tough decisions regarding resting key players.
Real Madrid's failure to open up a strong Juventus defence, without their injured midfielder Luka Modric, showed that Ancelotti does not have a balanced squad, giving credence to the notion that it is not the coach but the president who designs the squad.
But the buck stops with the coach who has to take the blame for failure and accept responsibility for defeats.
Many consider Perez to be Real Madrid's best ever president having raised the club's profile to astronomical level in his two terms as office. It is routinely declared as the most valuable team in the world by renowned financial assessment firms.
But the popularity is not justified in terms of trophies, having won only one La Liga title, one Champions League and two King's Cups during his 10-year reign in which he has invested over a billion euros to buy the game's most famous names.
The team has consistently underachieved under Perez's presidentship. He sacked current Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque after winning the 2003 La Liga title. Since then he has hired eight different coaches but that hasn't guaranteed consistent success.
Ancelotti has voiced his wish to get another year at winning the domestic La Liga next season.
But after a fruitless season, the big question which arises is, will Ancelotti be given the oppotunity? Or will he be yet another manager Perez fires. If yes, who will be the man to replace him?