If Julen Lopetegui can go on to win LaLiga this year with Real Madrid it will be a remarkable achievement; as he would be the first manager to do so in their first season while Florentino Perez has been president.
During Perez’s first term as president, from 2000 to 2006, none of the coaches he signed, after the departure of Vincente Del Bosque (1999-2003), managed to win LaLiga in their first season and were subsequently sacked – they were Carlos Queiroz in 2003-04, Camacho, Remón and Luxemburgo in 2004-05 and Lopez Caro in 2005-06.
During those three seasons from 2003 to 2006, only Queiroz managed to add silverware to the Bernabeu trophy cabinet, the Spanish Super Cup in 2003, which was his first competitive game in charge of the club. During that same period, Madrid finished second in LaLiga twice and did not make it beyond the quarterfinals of the Champions League.
Florentino’s second term (2009-present)
As the ‘Era of the Galacticos’ came to a close, Perez returned in 2009 for his second stint as president to oversee the club’s regeneration. And while there has been no shortage of honours since 2009 (including four Champions League titles), the LaLiga curse for new managers under Perez has continued.
Pellegrini was the first manager to be brought in by Perez during his second term, and the Italian coach managed to win nothing during his one season at the club in 2009-10. He was succeeded by Jose Mourinho, who won the Copa Del Rey in his first season, but finished 2nd in LaLiga and failed to make it past the semi-finals of the Champions League.
After Mourinho’s three seasons in charge, Carlos Ancelotti arrived. In his first season, the Italian made history by winning the club’s 10th European Cup title, and added another Copa Del Rey to the trophy cabinet, but like Mourinho and Pellegrini, could not lead his team to a LaLiga title.
Ancelloti lasted two seasons (2013-2015) before Rafa Benitez took over in June 2015, and the Spaniard was sacked by Perez not much later in January 2016, not even giving him the chance to see out the 2015-2016 campaign.
The rest of that campaign was left in the hands of Zidane, who managed to bring home the club’s 11th European Cup title that May, but could not steer the team to another LaLiga title. But that would come the following season, along with the 12th European Cup title.
2006 to 2009
Curiously, in the interim years between Perez’ first and second terms as president, Real Madrid won two LaLiga titles with a new coach. Fabio Capello beat Barcelona (who fell apart in the final stage of the season) to the post in 2006-07. The following season, Bernard Schuster also brought home the LaLiga title on his first – and only – attempt, leaving Barcelona a staggering 18 points behind Madrid by the end of the campaign.
Juande Ramos could have made it three consecutive titles under three new managers in 2008-09, but the former Seville and Tottenham manager failed to win any silverware, which led to his inevitable dismissal before Perez returned to the helm.
Whether Lopetegui is aware of the ‘LaLiga Curse of Perez’ or not, he will be hell-bent on breaking it. And it remains to be seen if any more new signings (perhaps Kylian Mbappé or Rodrigo Moreno) will come in before August 31 to help him in that endeavour.