Ancelotti axed by Real Madrid after two seasons, while McClaren and Clough pay price for disappointing campaigns
The football manager merry-go-round is spinning faster than ever before, with some high-profile casualties over the past few days.
It was no great surprise to see Sam Allardyce part company with West Ham United, with Carlo Ancelotti now being deemed surplus to requirements at Real Madrid after two relatively successful seasons.
Ancelotti accepted his fate gracefully following Real’s failure to win La Liga this season, while their Champions League defence faltered at the semi-final stage when Los Merengues were beaten by Juventus over two legs.
“Carlo is part of our history because he won the Décima for us,” said Real president Florentina Pérez. “But here the demands are very high and we need to give Real Madrid a new push that allows us to reach the level that we want to be. It was a very difficult decision to make. The demands at this club are the utmost because Madrid always wants to win silverware.
“The affection that the players and the fans have for Carlo is the same as the affection I myself have for him.”
It appears that Rafael Benitez could be heading to the Bernabeu, with the Spaniard in high demand this summer despite a modest campaign with Napoli in Serie A.
On the domestic front, there are lots of managerial changes being made, with Derby County sacking Steve McClaren over the weekend after the Rams went from being automatic promotion hopefuls to play-off drop-outs in the space of a few weeks.
The former England coach was linked to the Newcastle manager’s job recently and might yet head to St James’ Park after being offered the chance to take charge with three games remaining.
“I’m very disappointed with the decision, especially as I have on three occasions reiterated my commitment to Derby County Football Club,” said McClaren in a statement.
“The club means a huge amount to me and I was not looking to leave. While we were all unhappy with the way the season ended, I still believe real progress was being made. After taking over a side that was in 14th place at the end of September 2013, we had a fantastic run through to the play-off final last year.”
McClaren added: “Despite the bitter blow of losing in the manner we did at Wembley, the side bounced back and we enjoyed an excellent run until the last two months of the season when we were hit by injuries to key players.
“That was the major reason we were not able to maintain our promotion push. I do not believe or accept that rumours linking me to the Newcastle United job were a factor in the team’s performances this year, as had been alleged.
“Attendances were up to the highest average for a season since the team was in the Premier League and the largest in the Championship during the past season. I wanted to remain with the club and was confident in leading the side to a successful season next year.
“However, I have to accept the club’s owner, Mel Morris, wants to take a new direction.”
Meanwhile, McClaren’s predecessor at Pride Park has also been axed, with Nigel Clough being relieved of his duties at Sheffield United.
The Blades enjoyed another great cup run last season which saw them go close to reaching the Capital One Cup final although Swindon accounted for them in the League One play-offs.
The club announced in a statement: “The search for the club’s new first-team manager will now start and it is hoped that this will result in identifying and recruiting the right candidate within a relatively short period of time.
“The club would like to place on record its thanks to Nigel, as well as his backroom staff of Gary Crosby, Andy Garner, Martin Taylor, Simon Clough, Michael Forsyth and Matt Brown for their contribution to the club during their time at Bramall Lane and wish them all well for their future.”