Analysis: Evaluating the four candidates to replace Carlo Ancelotti at Real Madrid

With Carlo Ancelotti having already confirmed that he will retire when he leaves Real Madrid, attention will turn as to who will replace the Italian in the dugout.

Ancelotti has a contract until 2024 at Los Blancos, although there is a possibility that he could stay on in the job beyond the end of next season. However, he could even leave before end of his contract having been approached to take over as head coach of Brazil, but those rumours seem unlikely to come true.

According to Fichajes, the club have drawn up a four-man shortlist to replace the Italian when he does retire. The first name is Thomas Tuchel, who is currently unemployed having been sacked by Chelsea in September.

The 49-year-old is reportedly the favourite for the job, and it’s easy to understand why. He won the Champions League with an unfancied Chelsea team in 2021, defeating Manchester City in the final, who were firm favourites. Tuchel orchestrated a defensive masterclass in that game, something that is a common theme of his coaching. His style is somewhat similar to Ancelotti in that regard, which could give him the edge over the other candidates.

Another former Paris Saint-Germain boss is on the list, in the form of Mauricio Pochettino. The Argentine is highly regarded around the footballing world, but has also been out of work since leaving the French capital last summer. There’s no doubting that Pochettino is a very good manager, but his spell at PSG has casted doubts over his ability to perform at a top team. Having managed top players such as Kylian Mbappe, Lionel Messi and Neymar whilst in charge at the Parc des Princes, he struggled to command authority, and as such, struggled in that environment.

At Real Madrid, where the stakes will be the same if not higher, there will be questions as to whether the same situation could arise, which would be disastrous for manager and club alike.

Raul Gonzalez is also linked with the role. The club legend has had successful spells while working with the lower category squads, and is currently in charge of Castilla. The obvious comparison to draw is with Zinedine Zidane, who was also in charge of the B team before being elevated to the top job.

Although the Frenchman had a successful time in charge at the club, it’s difficult to assume that Raul will bring the same levels of success. It may be worth seeing how the legendary number 7 performs in senior football first at another club before taking the chance of him at Real Madrid.

The final name is a curveball, in the form of Joachim Low. The former German national team manager’s last club football job was with Austria Vienna in 2004. From there, he was involved in the Germany set-up, and took over the national team in 2006, remaining in charge until 2021.

The pick is an interesting one. There’s no doubt that Low is an exceptional coach with fantastic experience, which is something that will serve him in good stead as Real Madrid head coach. However, international football is a different ball game to club football and it may appear to be too much of a risk to opt for Low, considering he doesn’t have any recent experience of club football.

There’s no doubt that whoever takes the position will be under immense pressure from the get-go to emulate Ancelotti’s success at the club. A strong character will be required to take over one of the biggest jobs in world football. It remains to be seen who could live up to that expectation.

Tags Carlo Ancelotti Florentino Perez Joachim Low Mauricio Pochettino Raul Gonzalez Real Madrid Thomas Tuchel
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