After weeks of speculation, rumors and reports, it's finally official: Real Madrid have terminated the contract of Carlo Ancelotti, parting ways with the Italian manager after just two seasons. Club president Florentino Perez announced the move in a press conference Monday.
Ancelotti did well by most standards, finishing third in La Liga a year ago while keeping the club's title hopes alive almost to the end of the season. They completed a double, lifting Copa del Rey before winning the Champions League to give Real Madrid their long-sought La Decima, or tenth Champions League title. This year, however, ended trophy-less. Madrid finished second in La Liga while falling out of the Champions League in the semifinal round and lost in the round of 16 in the Copa del Rey to crosstown rival Atletico Madrid.
Football has very much become a "what have you done for me lately" sport, and nowhere is that more true than at Real Madrid. Both the fans andboard are very, very demanding, and even a manager of Ancelotti's pedigree isn't safe after a season with no trophies to add to the cabinet. Ancelotti will forever be remembered as the man who got Real Madrid La Decima, but unfortunately he'll be unable to add any further honors.
What's next for Ancelotti isn't clear yet, though he looks likely to take a year off. He has a back problem, and if he has surgery to correct it, it's unlikely he'll be ready to take on a new job to start next season.
As for Madrid, they could go in any of a number of directions, but it currently looks as though they'll tap current Napoli manager Rafa Benitez. The Spaniard has a long history with Madrid, having come up through the Castilla as a player and started his managerial career with Real Madrid B. However, despite his significant honors as a manager, his time in Italy hasn't gone off quite according to plan. That could open the door for other options. Jürgen Klopp will be another leading candidate, while Perez is rumored to see Zinedine Zidane as a future Madrid boss, despite his struggles with Castilla.