Analysis – Why change is coming at Real Madrid

Florentino Perez
MADRID, SPAIN - MAY 31: Real Madrid CF president Florentino Perez reacts as he listens to Zinedine Zidane during a press conference to announce his resignation as Real Madrid coach at Valdebebas Sport City on May 31, 2018 in Madrid, Spain. Zidane steps down from the position of Manager of Real Madrid, after leading the club to it's third consecutive UEFA Champions League title. (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)

Real Madrid’s defeat to Ajax in the Champions League this week has put the cat among the pigeons. It’s been a disastrous season for Spanish giants, and this defeat was the culmination.

With them also seemingly out of the title race in Spain, their season is at an end. For a club as big as Madrid it is nothing short of devastating.

They are a club that is synonymous with success, or so they believe, and being out of every competition at this stage of the season is simply unacceptable. The key question is, where do they go from here?

The most likely answer is that vast change is on the way. They need a new manager, Santiago Solari has proven he is not up to the standard required, and an overhaul of the squad has also become a necessity.

Real Madrid v Ajax - UEFA Champions League Round of 16: Second Leg
MADRID, SPAIN – MARCH 05: Santiago Solari, Manager of Real Madrid looks on prior to the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 Second Leg match between Real Madrid and Ajax at Bernabeu on March 05, 2019 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

This Madrid squad has become bloated with players who are either not good enough or no longer at their peak. They need to change if they are to keep up with the rest of the elite sides in Europe.

And if their history under Florentino Perez is anything to go by, sweeping changes are on the cards. Every time that Madrid has faltered under his leadership, he has reacted with force in the summer. Indeed, it was the failure to respond to their league failures last season that has caused them to be in this situation.

In 2004, 2005, 2009, 2013 and 2015 a new manager arrived on each occasion. 2004 and 2005 were not special appointments by any means but Manuel Pellegrini signed on in 2009, 2010 saw the arrival of Jose Mourinho and 2013 heralded the start of Carlo Ancelotti’s reign. Even 2015 saw the arrival of Rafa Benitez, another big name manager.

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Each time Madrid have suffered, Perez has responded by bringing in a big name, European coach to try and counter the slide. The Real president loves a big name manager, and it seems incredibly likely that one will be coming this summer. Mourinho is available of course, and seemingly the man edging ever closer to a return.

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LONDON, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 16: Neymar da Silva Santos Junior of Brazil. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

There are plenty of options for Perez to look at, though, and expect plenty of links to the world’s best managers between now and the summer. Then he can focus on transfers.

Like with the managers, Perez likes to sweep the decks when in reaction to Madrid’s struggles. Primarily it has been a case of in with the new and out with the old. For example, in 2005, Luis Figo and Santiago Solari departed in favour of Robinho and Sergio Ramos.

In 2009, Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder and Raphael van der Vaart left in favour of big-name moves for the likes of Kaka, Karim Benzema and Xabi Alonso. There was also a world record fee for Cristiano Ronaldo. They repeated the trick in 2013 when Galacticos such as Kaka, Mesut Ozil and Gonzalo Higuain were shown the door in favour of several younger faces. One of those was the world’s most expensive player, Gareth Bale.

The message is a simple one; when Real Madrid have struggled under Florentino Perez, he’s reacted with force. Managers have been replaced by more prominent names and players have been moved around for new ones to come in.

On two occasions, Madrid spent a world-record fee to refresh the squad. Suddenly those links to Neymar make a lot of sense. Expect changes in Madrid this summer, their history under Perez dictates they’re on the way.