Real Madrid is a club which is perpetually swirling in a pressure cooker. It doesn't matter who the opposition is, it doesn't matter what competition is taking place, it doesn't matter what the circumstances are. This club is one where fans demand results, and attractive results at that, every single time the players take the pitch. When the team doesn't perform to the expectations of the fanbase, the masses start to look for someone to which they can assign blame for the results.
While the players can (and should) shoulder the blame since they're the ones, y'know, actually playing the game, it is often the manager or coaching staff which bears the brunt of the populace's ire. This isn't exclusive to football, managers and coaches are often the first to be blamed, last to be praised in many professional sports but when you're the manager of the most high-profile club in the world the spotlight shines just a bit brighter.
Given that Real Madrid has started the season in very poor form, winning only three out of a possible nine points, Carlo Ancelotti's credentials and tactics have begun to come under fire from a demanding portion of the fans wanting better results. Ancelotti, a three-time Champions League winner, remains cool under fire but there are rumblings that the club is starting to consider a sacking and especially with rumors already existing that he would've lost his job had Real Madrid lost in the Champions League final. But given his current struggles, would firing him in the very near future be beneficial for this club?
I strongly argue that it wouldn't.
When talking of replacing an employee in an organization, one of the first questions that comes to mind is with who shall I replace him/her? In this case, who are the realistic options to replace Ancelotti midway through the season. Let's go through some of the popular names being mentioned.
- Jürgen Klopp: Under contract with Borussia Dortmund through the 2018 season. Doesn't make sense as an option due to Real Madrid being a 180 degree different type of organization and culture than BvB. He seems content playing his brand of football in Germany, a brand which would require some attributes that frankly few current Real Madrid players possess.
- Jupp Heynckes: Retired after winning the Champions League with Bayern Munich and is pushing 70 years old. Famously fired after winning the Champions League with Real Madrid in 1998 due to the lack of domestic success. Given his age, retirement status and club history, I don't see this happening at all.
- Joachim Low: The current manager of Germany's World Cup-winning squad. While his national team has grown over the years into a fantastic unit, his club career has virtually nothing to show that he'd be quality enough for Real Madrid, nor does he seem overly eager to jump into such a club situation when he has it so well with the national team. Maybe his national team form would carry over to club, but that's a risky 'if' to be messing around with.
- Roberto Martinez: Under contract with Everton through the 2019 season. Martinez, who I do rate pretty highly, is often praised for his methods and progressive football acumen. However, some have questioned his defensive methods and if he's ready to make the jump from Everton to Real Madrid, especially when he's expressed his commitment to building on the youth movement at Everton.
- Frank De Boer: Under contract with Ajax through the 2018 season. A bit of an outsider choice, he's done wonderful things in the Eredivisie with Ajax, winning the league four times in a row and developing a number of quality youngsters. However, his European results have been very poor and he's far from being ready to take over at a club of this magnitude.
- Zinedine Zidane: Carlo's assistant manager last season, Zizou has taken over the Castilla side and has led them to three points out of a possible 12 so far. While not all those results are his fault, he's still the team manager and needs to figure out how to lead kids to a victory before managing the egos of the first team. Nowhere near ready enough for top-flight action.
- Pep Guardiola: Kidding.
Other than these men, who else can even begin to join the discussion as a replacement? Alex Ferguson isn't joining, Antonio Conte quit Juventus to take over the Italian national team, Arsene Wenger isn't leaving Arsenal any time soon and Brendan Rodgers isn't likely to do the same at Liverpool, Manuel Pellegrini and Jose Mourinho aren't coming back, neither is Del Bosque. Roger Schmidt is doing wonderful things at Bayer Leverkusen, as are Unai Emery at Sevilla and Rudi Garcia at Roma, but one thinks that they needs just a bit more seasoning in order to join a club this huge.
So I ask again, if you sack Carlo in the next month, who would realistically be an option? Who would even want to join the mess that would be waiting for them? Why would their existing clubs let them go this early in the season? Would the fans even afford him the patience to rehaul and possibly implement a drastically new system, not to mention the players buying into his philosophy?
Lots of questions to be asked, but ones which need to be considered when calling for Carlo's head just a few games into a young campaign. Yes, his tactics have been spotty at best and yes, his league track record doesn't even come close to matching his results in cup competitions. I don't at all deny that I've been unhappy with some of the moves he's made both this season as well as the last one. But this is a man who has shown to be able to more or less mold this team on the fly and is someone who can raise this team from the dead. This club is currently struggling under his stewardship but it's not all on him, a number of factors come into play when analyzing exactly why it is that the desired results aren't manifesting themselves. For all the times that fans have said to value what the club currently has instead of looking outwards at the shiny new toys, why can't that same train of thought be extended to the manager? Maybe some of these managers become available options at the end of the season, but not one of them will join the club right now if need be.
Carlo's feet should be held to the fire, no doubt about it, but firing him right now simply won't accomplish anything.