What has happened to Real Madrid? Once the unstoppable giants of European football, with finances unmatched by any club in the world, they could hand-pick their squad of 'Galacticos' from wherever took their fancy - there was no turning down the continent's most successful ever club.
While they may still command a deserved reputation and mystique, they are not the powerhouse they once were. Since collecting their record ninth European title in 2002 thanks to THAT Zinedine Zidane volley, Madrid have somewhat faltered, and in the last eleven years have picked up just four league titles, one Copa del Rey and, crucially, have not managed to gain that elusive tenth Champions League victory.
In the last decade an extraordinary number of 'big-name' managers have tried and failed to deliver for Real chief Florentino Perez. That failure, combined with the emergence of Barcelona's 'golden generation' which has produced six league titles, two Copa del Rey's and three European triumphs over the same period, has led Madrid to a hire-and-fire policy of coaches, all with their own ideas and their own players.
Even the Special One could not deliver Perez's much craved tenth European Cup. With Carlo Ancellotti reportedly on the verge of becoming the next Real manager, here's a look at some of the others that have failed to impress the Madrid supremo:
Vincente Del Bosque | Left on 23 June 2003
Competitive win percentage = 54.51, Won: 2 La Liga, 1 Supercopa de Espana, 2 UEFA Champions League, 1 UEFA Super Cup, 1 Intercontinental Cup
Just day's after securing the club's 29th La Liga title and a week after the club signed David Beckham, Vicente Del Bosque failed to be offered a new contract by the club.
Rumours spread that the Spaniard, now 62, was unhappy with the club's transfer policy, and that many players were signed by Perez, without his authority.
Perez commented in an interview with BBC Sport that Del Bosque was "showing signs of exhaustion," going on to say: "I want to be sincere about this - our belief that he was not the right coach for the future."
Del Bosque returned to take the Spanish national job in 2008, guiding his team to back-to-back European Championships and the 2010 World Cup.
Carlos Queiroz | Sacked on 24 May 2004
Competitive win percentage = 57.63, Won: 1 Supercopa de Espana
His work as assistant to Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United earned Queiroz his chance at Madrid, but if a manager as successful as Del Bosque could not command Perez's respect then the former South Africa and United Arab Emirates boss stood little chance.
Claude Makelele was sold to Chelsea against his wishes and Perez refused to sign Pepe in a £2m deal Queiroz had arranged, reasoning that "defenders do not sell shirts".
Madrid signed the Portuguese defender for almost £30 million three years later. After starting the 2003/04 season strongly Madrid collapsed, losing their final five matches of the year and finishing fourth in La Liga - Rafael Benitez's Valencia winning the title. Queiroz was quickly dispatched after ten months in charge and returned to Old Trafford.
Jose Antonio Camacho | Resigned on 20 September 2004
Competitive win percentage = 66.67, Won: None
After taking over at the start of the summer, Camacho lasted just six competitive matches. He won his first four games in charge, but a 3-0 Champions League defeat at Bayer Leverkusen and a 1-0 loss at Espanyol four days later saw him jump before he was pushed.
Mariano Garcia Remon | Sacked on 30 December 2004
Competitive win percentage = 60.00, Won: None
Originally appointed as Camacho's assistant, he was given the the job on a permanent basis following his friend and former Real teammate's resignation, but it only took until Christmas before he too was removed by the Madrid hierarchy.
Vanderlei Luxemburgo | Sacked on 4 December 2005
Competitive win percentage = 62.22, Won: None
Led Madrid to seven consecutive wins to put them back in contention for the 2004-05 La Liga title, eventually losing out by four points too Barcelona.
However, in the following season, his introduction of the 'Magic Rectangle' (or 4-2-2-2) formation failed to impress his bosses, and after a humiliating 3-0 home defat at the hands of Barca he was relieved of his duties.
Juan Ramon Lopez Caro (Caretaker) | Left on 1 June 2006
Competitive win percentage = 50.00, Won: None
The former reserve-team coach saw Madrid through to the end of the 2005-06 season. Was never likely to be appointed on a permanent basis and left for Racing Santander in June.
Fabio Capello | Sacked on 28 June 2007
Competitive win percentage = 56.00, Won: 1 La Liga
Won Madrid their first La Liga title since 2003, but was never popular due to his defensive playing style and his decision to drop David Beckham.
The Italian eventually recalled 'Becks', who played a pivotal role in capturing the 2007 championship. Despite his success, Capello was sacked just days later due to Real's pragmatic style of play at a club with recent memories of the individualistic and free-flowing Galactico era.
Capello has never returned to club management since, having had spells with England and now Russia.
Bernd Schuster | Resigned on 9 December 2008
Competitive win percentage = 58.67, Won: 1 La Liga, 1 Supercopa de Espana
Brought attacking football back to the Bernabeu, recording a second consecutive league title for Madrid.
However, defeat to Roma in the Champions League left his position precarious. Schuster constantly had arguments with the media and Real's form correspondingly dropped at the start of the 2008/09 season.
The German stepped down after a 4-3 defeat by Seville, after which he said publicly that his team stood "no chance" of beating Barcelona in the upcoming El Classico derby match.
Juande Ramos | Left on 1 June 2009
Competitive win percentage = 66.67, Won: None
Took 52 points out of a possible 54 to drag Madrid back into contention for the 2008-09 La Liga title, but a 6-2 defeat by Barcelona at the Bernabeu ended Real's hopes of the championship, and Ramos' hopes of keeping hold of his job.
Manuel Pellegrini | Sacked on 26 May 2010
Competitive win percentage = 75.00, Won: None
The incoming Manchester City boss is no stranger to big-money signings.
Within weeks of his arrival Madrid he had assembled a new set of galacticos, including Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka, Karim Benzema and Xabi Alonso. Despite this, Real were humiliated in the Copa del Rey, losing 4-1 on aggregate to Segunda Division B club Alcorcon - ranked lower in the Spanish league pyramid than Real's own reserve side.
Madrid achieved a league record 96 points, but were still pipped to the title by Barcelona who achieved 99, while Lyon surprisingly dispatched them from the Champions League.
There were many rumours of the coach's departure during the summer of 2010, but the club's directors did not confirm anything at the time. On 26 May 2010, Real Madrid's directors announced that Pellegrini was being sacked by the club, to be replaced byJ osé Mourinho, but that they would have kept him if the opportunity to hire Mourinho had not arisen.
Pellegrini later reflected on his frustration at not being able to build a team at Real Madrid – due to the Galacticos policy at Real Madrid: "I didn't have a voice or a vote at Madrid. They sign the best players, but not the best players needed in a certain position. It’s no good having an orchestra with the 10 best guitarists if I don’t have a pianist.
"Real Madrid have the best guitarists, but if I ask them to play the piano they won’t be able to do it so well. He [Perez] sold players that I considered important. We didn't win the Champions League because we didn't have a squad properly structured to be able to win it."
Jose Mourinho | Resigned on 1 June 2013
Competitive win percentage = 71.91, Won: 1 La Liga, 1 Copa del Ray, 1 Supercopa de Espana
What is there to say that hasn't already been said about Mourinho's reign as Madrid manager? It all seemed to be going so swimmingly when he picked up a La Liga, Copa del Rey and Supercopa title in his first two years - but the Champions League continued to elude him as Real crashed out in three consecutive semi-finals to Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund.
Defeat in the 2013 Copa del Rey final against local rivals Atletico Madrid put the final nail in the coffin, with the Special One already eying a return to Chelsea. The Portuguese called it the "worst year of his career" and he left the Spanish club by mutual consent.
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