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The 5 worst managers in Real Madrid history

Julen Lopetegui
Julen Lopetegui's time at Real Madrid was largely a pointless exercise.
Scott Newman
Modified 24 Mar 2021
Top 5 / Top 10

With 34 La Liga titles and 13 Champions League wins, Real Madrid are undoubtedly one of the biggest clubs in world football.

Not all of Real Madrid’s managers have been as successful as current boss Zinedine Zidane, though, and many have failed massively.

With all things considered, here are the five worst managers in Real Madrid history.

#1 Julen Lopetegui

Julen Lopetegui quickly regretted abandoning Spain to take the Real Madrid job.
Julen Lopetegui quickly regretted abandoning Spain to take the Real Madrid job.

Julen Lopetegui’s tenure as boss of Real Madrid got off to a massively controversial start and ended after just three months of pretty woeful results on the pitch.

The former Porto boss was supposed to be the man to lead Spain into the 2018 World Cup. But following Zinedine Zidane’s departure, Real Madrid were looking for a new manager and eyed Lopetegui up.

Incredibly, Lopetegui publicly agreed to take over at the Bernabeu after the World Cup – only for the Spanish FA to pull the trigger first and fire him on the eve of the tournament.

If Lopetegui was hoping for a smoother ride once he reached the Bernabeu, he was sadly mistaken. Real Madrid slumped to a 4-2 defeat to city rivals Atletico in the UEFA Super Cup in his first game in charge.


It turned out to be a sign of things to come.

Lopetegui’s side got off to a winning start in La Liga, defeating their first three opponents. But by mid-September, Real Madrid hit a real slump.

They went five games without a win. And when Barcelona hammered them 5-1 at the Nou Camp, Los Blancos’ power-brokers had enough and fired Lopetegui.

All in all, his reign lasted just four months – rendering the whole controversy with Spain a bit of a waste of time.

#2 Jose Antonio Camacho

Jose Antonio Camacho had two forgettable stints in charge of Real Madrid.
Jose Antonio Camacho had two forgettable stints in charge of Real Madrid.

Only a handful of managers tend to return to their previous clubs, and even then, most of those who do were successful in their first stint.

The same cannot be said for Jose Antonio Camacho, who had two spells in charge of Real Madrid, both of which were largely disastrous.

The first came in 1998. Camacho – a former Real Madrid player – joined the club after a successful run at Espanyol.


Bizarrely though, this stint ended without him taking charge of a single game, as he resigned after just 22 days following a fall-out with the club’s board.

Despite this, Los Blancos again turned to Camacho in the summer of 2004, handing him a two-year deal following Carlos Queiroz's departure.

The stint lasted a little longer – around four months this time – but was still an abject disaster.

Camacho’s Real Madrid won their first two league games but suffered a heavy 3-0 defeat in their opening Champions League match against Bayer Leverkusen.

The loss put Camacho under immediate pressure. And while he attempted to change things around by dropping key players for Real’s next match, it backfired badly as they slumped to a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Espanyol.

That was enough for Los Blancos, who dispensed with Camacho just two days later after just six games in charge.

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Published 24 Mar 2021, 14:54 IST
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