Emergency coaches have won seven European Cups

Out of the 13 European cups that Madrid have won, seven of them were lifted by coaches who came in as an emergency solution: Miguel Muñoz (two), Del Bosque (two) and Zidane (three).

Emergency coaches have won seven European Cups
Matthias Hangst Getty Images

Santiago Solari makes his debut this Wednesday night in the Champions League as coach of Real Madrid. The Argentinean was named as a “provisional” replacement for Julen Lopetegui when the club announced the dismissal of the Basque coach nine days ago. And under the rules of the Spanish FA, an interim coach of this nature can only be in position for two weeks – meaning under this current situation, Solari will only oversee the next two games against Plzen and Celta Vigo.

But if the club do in the end decide to make his appointment more permanent in nature, Solari can begin to think about following in the footsteps of the other Real Madrid managers brought in as emergency solutions that went on to win European club football’s greatest prize.

In fact, of the 13 European cups that Madrid have won, seven of them were lifted by coaches who came in as an emergency solution: Miguel Muñoz, who replaced Fleitas Solich in 1960 and won two European Cups; Vincente Del Bosque, who relieved John Toshack of his duties in 1999 and added another two; and Zidane, who took over from Rafa Benítez in 2016 and won the last three consecutive Champions League titles.

Miguel Muñoz

In April 1960, Santiago Bernabéu chose Miguel Muñoz – who had been training Plus Ultra, a subsidiary of Madrid and had already overseen some league and European Cup matches in 1958 – to replace Fleitas Solich after a poor showing in LaLiga.

When Muñoz took over in April, there only remained one game in the league, which Barcelona had already won, and two semi-final legs of the European Cup against the Catalan club. Muñoz’s well-trained side beat Barca 3-1 in both legs in Madrid and Barcelona, before going on to defeat Eintrecht 7-3 in the final in Glasgow, with Di Stefano and Puskas netting three and four goals, respectively.

After lifting the European Cup after just four games in charge in 1960, Muñoz went on to become Madrid’s longest serving coach, remaining his position until 1974. In 1966, he won the European cup for the second time, beating Partizan Belgrade 2-1 in the final in Brussels.

Miguel Muñoz with Santiago Bernabéu

Vincente del Bosque

The 1999-2000 season Madrid began with John Toshack on the bench and finished with Vicente Del Bosque. The Welshman was dismissed after he refused the order of president Lorenzo Sanz to retract critical comments he had made about the players, saying "There's more chance of a pig flying over the Bernabeu".

After the board fired Toshack, Del Bosque came in, but the Spaniard could only manage to finish fifth in LaLiga that season, seven points behind champions Deportivo La Coruña. But despite the league disappointment, the now legendary coach went to win the Champions League title just a few weeks later, beating Valencia 3-0 in the final.

Del Bosque spent two years, eleven months and six days at the Bernabéu helm, during which time he added six more titles, including another Champions League trophy in 2002, overcoming Leverkusen 2-1 in the final in Glasgow (the same venue in which Muñoz lifted his first European Cup in 1960). And the man that scored the winning goal in that final was none other than the next man on the list: Zinedine Zidane.

Vincente Del Bosque won two Champions League title with Real Madrid

Zinedine Zidane

After a disappointing run, Rafa Benitez was replaced on January 4, 2016 by Zinedine Zidane, who, like Santiago Solari, had been coaching Real Madrid Castilla (the ‘B’ team) until he took the reins of the first team.

After the players had failed to connect with Benitez, Zidane took over a team out of sorts, third in the league and five points behind Barça and eliminated from the Copa del Rey- The Frenchman  brought them back from the brink to go on to win the LaLiga title and the club’s 11th European cup title, after they defeated Atlético on penalties in the final.

His arrival on the bench marked the start of another golden age of the club’s history. After arriving as an emergency solution in 2016, the Frenchman went on to lift three consecutive Champions League titles in total, before he announced his shock resignation on May 31 this year.