Real Madrid has fired Rafa Benítez seven months after hiring him to replace Carlo Ancelotti. This is the second time in Benítez’s career that he has been fired in his first season with a team, joining his 2010 stint at Inter Milan when he was sacked after 25 matches.
Benítez has managed 12 teams in his career, with only two of those stops spanning more than three calendar years -- 2001-04 with Valencia and 2004-10 with Liverpool. He leaves Real Madrid with a .740 win percentage, his best at any club since 2001. However, for the first time since 2001, Benítez failed to win a trophy with a team because he did not have an opportunity to play in any finals as Real Madrid manager.
Real Madrid coaching carousel
Florentino Pérez’s two terms as Real Madrid club president have been marked by two things -- big signings and managerial changes. No coach has lasted longer than three seasons with Pérez as president.
Benítez was the 10th manager hired by Pérez, including interim managers. Of the six permanent managers hired by Pérez, four have failed to make it to their second season.
Real Madrid this season
Real Madrid is third in La Liga and was kicked out of Copa del Rey for fielding an ineligible player. They are worse off through 25 games this season than they were in each of the previous two seasons.
Madrid has struggled in big games under Benítez, recording just one point in three matches against the other teams in the top four of La Liga this season (Atlético Madrid, Barcelona and Villarreal).
Real Madrid has not won La Liga since 2011-12. If the club fails to win the league this season, it would be their longest drought without a league title since 1990-94 (also four seasons).
French legend Zinedine Zidane is taking over as manager for the rest of the season for Real Madrid. Zidane was part of Perez’s “Galacticos” at Real Madrid that won La Liga and Champions League titles in the early 2000s, along with Luis Figo, David Beckham and Ronaldo.
Zidane has been managing Real Madrid Castilla, the club’s “B” team, for the past two seasons.