On Monday evening, Real Madrid parted company with Rafael Benitez. With the Spaniard only taking the managerial reigns in June, this decision from president Florentino Perez shows just how fickle football has become at the top level.
The modern manager is now expected to come into a new club and not only implement new ideas and styles of play, but also bring immediate improvements on the pitch. If success does not arrive straight away, pressure is immediately brought onto the manager.
This situation is undoubtedly detrimental to both the clubs involved and the game in general; stability is a key ingredient to long-term success.
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When Manchester United appointed Sir Alex Ferguson in 1986, the Scot went several seasons without bringing a trophy to Old Trafford. However, the club's board stuck by their man and later reaped the rewards with decades of unparalleled success.
The patience and loyalty afforded to the Scot is now rarely exhibited by presidents and chairmen in the modern game. As a result, contracts are becoming increasingly meaningless. Benitez was handed a three-year deal in June yet saw out just six months.
There might have been a level of understanding if Madrid were languishing in mid-table and out of the Champions League. However, such a dramatic fall from grace has not come to fruition.
Los Blancos sit third in La Liga, four points off the summit and as recently as December 20, Benitez’s men thrashed Rayo Vallecano 10-2. In similarly emphatic form, Ronaldo and co. cruised through their Champions League group with 16 of a possible 18 points.
These facts appear to have been totally disregarded, as two recent setbacks away to Villarreal and Valencia sealed the fate of an internationally renowned manager. In sacking the Spaniard, Perez continues to set an astronomically high standard for those willing to take on the role.
The next man through the revolving door is Zinedine Zidane - a great player in his own right, but a completely unproven manager. He arrives knowing that he must immediately improve both performances and results if he is to escape constant pressure from the powers that be.
Madrid’s handling of their coaching staff is utterly devoid of trust and loyalty. Although their fickle stance is an extreme case when compared to other top clubs, short-term fixes are beginning to dominate world football.
As a case in point, Arsene Wenger’s longevity as Arsenal manager stands out above most other clubs in England. Perhaps, therefore, it's little surprise that amidst a chaotic Premier League season, the club with the most stability has emerged at the top of the table.
Madrid have taken yet another risk to shake up their coaching staff half way through the season in search of immediate solutions to non-existent problems. The longer and more widespread this trend continues, the more farcical the game of football will become.
Managerial stability is the key to success - just ask any of the Class of '92.
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