You would be forgiven for thinking that Fabio Capello’s job is safe at Real Madrid with his side just two points behind Barcelona at the top of La Liga. However, the debate raging behind the scenes at the club centres on not whether to retain the Italian coach, but who to replace him with.
Reports that an agreement has already been reached with Bernd Schuster are premature and the recent upturn in results at the Bernabeu have only served, somewhat ironically, to make the situation even more tense. Ramon Calderon, Pedja Mijatovic and Jose Angel Sanchez are unable to agree on Capello’s successor and each has their own personal preference.
Ramon Calderon had, until very recently, decided upon Bernd Schuster. Had it not been for the late intervention of Mijatovic during last summer’s electoral campaign, Schuster would have been coach of Real Madrid at the start of this season instead of Capello. Perversely, the decision to recruit Capello may have won the election for Calderon.
A disastrous exit from the Champions league and poor league form led Calderon to wish he’d stuck with his first choice, Schuster, which has left Mijatovic to shoulder the blame for the appointment of the unpopular Italian coach. Capello was Mijatovic’s ‘man’ and it is hardly surprising that the sporting director’s recommendations for a replacement are being ignored. It doesn’t help that Mijatovic’s preference is for Michel, currently making a mess of things as coach of Real Madrid’s reserve team.
Enter Jose Angel Sanchez. The general manager, and the man effectively running the show now that Mijatovic has fallen from grace, is pushing hard for either Jose Mourinho or Rafa Benitez. Two names that would surely satisfy the fans.
Given the difficulties inherent in trying to prize Benitez away from Liverpool where his current employers would demand hefty compensation, the appointment of Mourinho is far more realistic. The Portuguese is said to be closer to the exit door at Stamford Bridge than he is to being invited to spend the summer on Abrahamovich’s yacht and his recruitment would be relatively straightforward. An opportunity too good for Real Madrid to miss surely?