'Greatest' Real Madrid descend in chaos

Real Madrid have descended into utter chaos and confusion.

The “Greatest Club in the World”, as they like to be called, are quickly become the greatest laughing stock of Planet Football.

On Saturday night, the “Galacticos” struggled at home to beat minnows Getafe 1-0, a result that took them up to fourth in the Spanish Liga.

As usual, the crowd in the Estadio Bernabeu didn’t like the tactics employed by coach Vanderlei Luxemburgo, and made this clear to President Florentino Perez.

Luxemburgo then brought the wrath of the stadium down on him, late in the game, by replacing scorer Ronaldo with an extra defender.

Minutes after the final whistle, Perez told several of his guests in the VIP box that he meant to sack Luxemburgo.

By Sunday morning the word was out: the Brazilian coach was to be axed. Perez then infuriated the media—and Luxemburgo—by not officially announcing the sacking until almost midnight, after an endless board meeting.

Perez will have to shell out more than €10-million to pay off Luxemburgo and his five Brazilian assistants.

Most “Madridista” fans assumed that Perez had already lined up a marquee coach as replacement. Not at all.
Juan Ramon Lopez Caro—coach of Real’s nursery team—has been placed in charge until Perez can find who will become his sixth coach within three years.

Favourites for the difficult job are Javier Irureta, Victor Fernandez and Paul Le Guen, all currently out of contract. Whether any of them are prepared to accept the daunting task of picking up the fallen giant remains to be seen.

Perez has already made it clear that he will not bring back fan favourite Vicente del Bosque, whose sacking in June 2003—one day after winning Real’s last league title—is seen as the beginning of the club’s decline.

Since 2003, Real have won absolutely nothing, despite spending almost €200-million since then to sign more expensive “Galacticos”.

The situation at the club became even more chaotic early on Tuesday, when it was announced that director of football Arrigo Sacchi was leaving his job at the end of December “for personal reasons”.

Sacchi has only been in the job since January. His first and most controversial decision was to bring in Luxemburgo from Brazil.

Now Perez not only has to find a coach but also a new director of football.

Construction magnate Perez was re-elected Real president in July 2004 with 94% of the members’ votes. His popularity, however, is evaporating with every coach he sacks and with every defeat suffered by the ill-balanced squad.

“The departure of Sacchi and Luxemburgo means that the fans’ anger will now be directed directly at Florentino [Perez],” radio station Cadena SER said on Tuesday morning. “... Now there will be no hiding place for the president.”

To make matters worse for Perez, historic rivals Barcelona are the toast of Europe with their swashbuckling style and seem to be cruising to another Liga title.

The breathtaking Barca attack is lead by Ronaldinho and Samuel Etoo—two players rejected by Perez a couple of years ago.

Indeed, Barca’s 3-0 win last month in Madrid—in which Ronaldinho was applauded off by the Bernabeu—was really the beginning of the end for Luxemburgo and Sacchi. - Sapa-DPA

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