Real Madrid are heading into next season without a manager contracted for the first team job, with incumbent Carlo Ancelotti’s deal up at the end of this campaign. The general feeling is that it will be his last season at the Santiago Bernabeu, giving way to plenty of speculation on his replacement.
After Julian Nagelsmann took the Germany job, Real Madrid Castilla manager Raul Gonzalez moved up on the shortlist, but another former legend of the game in Xabi Alonso has quickly been placed at the top of that list. The Basque manager has gone from strength to strength since taking over Bayer Leverkusen last year, and in just 12 months has seen them rise from second-bottom to top of the Bundesliga.
Such is the quality of football and the speed of their rise, that Alonso has quickly become one of the hottest managerial properties in Europe. Sporting Director Simon Rolfes maintains that they are planning for next season with Alonso, and that he is focused on his work at Die Werkself, but the SDZ claim that they have also made contingency plans.
With former clubs like Liverpool and Real Madrid likely to come calling should they have a vacancy, Alonso has a release clause of between €15m and €18m to leave Leverkusen. It’s a mammoth release clause, the likes of which is rarely seen for a manager.
Yet with the focus increasingly placed on coaches rather than players, it would be no surprise if for the top coaches, and those on the rise, such clauses became commonplace as the likes of Leverkusen seek to protect themselves. Given the way they are playing, many in Madrid will likely see it as a fair deal.