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Who will be the next Real Madrid manager? Xabi Alonso, Arbeloa and Raúl on the shortlist

Three Spaniards are on the shortlist for the job of Madrid manager if current boss Ancelotti doesn’t renew his deal.

Three Spaniards are on the shortlist for the job of Madrid manager if current boss Ancelotti doesn’t renew his deal.

The position in the hot seat on the Real Madrid bench is set to become vacant if the club do not offer Carlo Ancelotti a contract renewal before July 1 2024. It is not the ideal situation for the 14-time European champions, but those in power who walk the corridors of the Bernabéu both understand and appreciate the context of the situation. As such, the casting of potential suitors for the role has already been pencilled in: Xabi Alonso is one option as well as Raúl and Álvaro Arbeloa, who would be promoted from the inside.

The list goes in that order. They are the people at the top of the pile of candidates and right now, a surprise option is not on the cards. Having said that, as always, the name of Zinedine Zidane cannot be fully ruled out. The possibility of re-signing the Frenchman seems remote but it is not impossible. Madrid’s ex-Champions League-winning manager is being looked at by Juventus, has been keeping his relationship with Real Madrid very much alive.

Carlo Ancelotti has been linked with a move to the Brazil National Team.
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Carlo Ancelotti has been linked with a move to the Brazil National Team.CIRO FUSCOEFE

Xabi Alonso, the fashionable choice with a way out

Alonso is the option that does nothing other than continue to convince, as the manager is going through incredible form at the top of the Bundesliga with six wins and one draw. Bild also revealed last week that the Spaniard included a secret exit clause in his new deal with Bayer Leverkusen, one which would allow him to leave for one of Liverpool, Bayern Munich or Real Madrid.

Xabi is in an incredible vein of form, he is young and has experience in both the Champions League and Europa League and uses a system that he trusts. The manager plays with a 5-4-1 formation, but uses his wing-backs like forwards in what is effectively a 3-5-2; it is a system that is nothing like that of current Madrid boss, Carlo Ancelotti.

The only point against Alonso, from Madrid’s point of view, is that Bayern or Liverpool call him first. The Germans are going through a period of instability and have changed their manager and other staff over the past few months. Added to this, their modus operandi is usually to cherry pick the top talent in the Bundesliga.

Arbeloa is the riskiest option

Arbeloa meets all the requirements to become a LaLiga manager. The ex-right-back has potential, he knows the club, there is a good relationship between him and the majority of the fanbase and he has performed well in the youth categories. These are all the reasons why, from within the club, they have been pushing his name more than Raúl.

And there’s more: the club have the fantasy that he could even become manager with Xabi Alonso as his number two. His CV until now is impeccable with the youth teams, as he won the League, Cup and Champions Cup last season without losing a game, drawing just 4 and scoring 160 goals. Arbeloa’s football was, simply put, exquisite and devastating.

But that fantastic performance is just that, a single performance. Arbeloa does not have experience at the top, only with under-19s. Not even Zidane, who came through the youth setup as a coach, made such a leap. And his new generation of players are going through a rough patch: after 6 games they have 2 draws and a defeat, and are currently 3rd in the group, something unthinkable last season. His inexperience counts against him.

Arbeloa played over 150 games for Real Madrid.
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Arbeloa played over 150 games for Real Madrid.Eidan Rubio

Raúl, the third favourite on the list

The number 7 got used to fighting against the odds during his time as a player and it seems as though as a manager he is having to do the same thing. Despite the fact that he has Arbeloa, managing at a lower level than him, above him in the managerial pecking order, Raúl continues to work hard at the club and take every day as an opportunity to learn.

Now in his fifth season, the coach saw promotion taken away at the last second for his side but that is not the only way he is being measured: Fran García, Rafa Marín and Arribas are prime examples of how he can mould players from a young age into stars, and he is still doing so with names like Nico Paz and Gonzalo. All this great work has seen him linked with clubs in England as well as the Bundesliga.

It seems that his stock is higher for foreign teams than the domestic clubs. This season, however, his side are not shining, with Castilla feeling the effects of a mass exodus over the summer. They have won 2, drawn 2 and lost 3 so far, and the support from within Real Madrid to see Raúl in the Bernabéu hot seat is dwindling.