Real Madrid's next boss: Mauricio Pochettino, Raul and the leading candidates to replace under-pressure coach Carlo Ancelotti

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Carlo Ancelotti could leave the Santiago Bernabeu at the end of the season and there are several possible replacements...

Carlo Ancelotti hasn't done much wrong as Real Madrid coach. Since arriving for the second time 18 months ago, he has won La Liga and the Champions League – and could win the latter again this season.

He has revived an ageing squad, helped Karim Benzema become a Ballon d'Or winner, and developed Vinicius Jr into a world-class winger.

But now, his job is being called into question. Barcelona are running away with La Liga and with Ancelotti increasingly linked to the Brazil national team gig, it appears his days in Spain could be numbered.

That leaves Madrid potentially looking for a new manager this summer, and they can likely get whoever they want.

Such is the pull of the club, and the relentlessness of President Florentino Perez, that Los Blancos are very hard to turn down. Still, this could be a particularly appointment to make.

In Ancelotti, Madrid had the right kind of character for the job. The famously sound man-manager has brought the team immense success on confidence alone, allowing a world-class squad to play to their own beat.

But Madrid have become predictable, and perhaps need a more astute tactical mind. The board are reportedly starting to realise this.

Indeed, the experienced squad that grinded their way to a European-domestic double is on their way out, while a wave of youth talent could still do with moulding and guidance.

The current options, though, are mixed. Thomas Tuchel was the most obvious candidate before he was snapped up by Bayern Munich last week.

Still, there are a few managers of interest on the market, including reported top candidate Mauricio Pochettino.

GOAL takes a look at who could take the helm next at the Santiago Bernabeu...

  1. Mauricio Pochettino
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    Mauricio Pochettino

    Numerous outlets are reporting that the former Tottenham and PSG man has piqued the interest of Madrid's board. And he certainly meets some of the criteria.

    Pochettino's sides try to play exciting football, and he has the charisma and energy of a manager capable of leading a big side. His domestic success has been admittedly limited, but he took Tottenham to the 2019 Champions League final, and also won Ligue 1 with PSG in 2022.

    At Tottenham, he worked wonders with a relatively small budget and Spurs were among the most entertaining teams in Europe on their day.

    With creative players such as Dele and Christian Eriksen playing behind an ever-improving Harry Kane, Pochettino pieced together a side that finished second in the Premier League in 2016, and knocked Manchester City out of the Champions League in 2019.

    It's not hard to see him doing something similar with a young squad in Madrid – especially if Los Blancos sign a certain English midfielder to bolster the ranks.

  2. Raul
    Raul Gonzalez Twitter


    Madrid don't mind an internal replacement. It's brought them plenty of success in the past, notably with the promotion of Zinedine Zidane from reserve side Castilla. The club legend went on to win two league titles and a trio of Champions League winners' medals at the helm.

    And Raul could be next in line. Zidane's former team-mate's managerial path is remarkably similar to that of the former Madrid boss.

    Raul took over the Madrid U15s in 2018, and was made manager of Madrid Castilla less than a year later. The B team have enjoyed success under the club legend's tutelage, with the academy side third, and four points behind Alcoron in the Primera Federacion.

    Players such as Rodrygo, Alvaro Rodriguez and the soon-to-return Fran Garcia have all cracked into the senior side after developing under Raul, too.

    Leeds were reportedly interested in hiring him, and a handful of German clubs were also sniffing around. But he spurned all interest, presumably with his eyes on a different job...

  3. Julian Nagelsmann
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    Julian Nagelsmann

    Nagelsmann was recently let go by Bayern Munich, and is reportedly determined to take a few months off before returning to management. If he's refreshed by this summer, he could be a shrewd appointment for Los Blancos.

    The German was hailed as a young tactical mastermind when he was hired by Bayern 18 months ago. But he never quite worked out at the club.

    Although Bayern won the league during his first season in charge – and could still do so this year – Nagelsmann had a tricky relationship with the board. Valid, but perhaps harsh concerns over the style of football and consistency of the side saw his tenure end prematurely.

    But that shouldn't put other teams off. Indeed, Nagelsmann lost Robert Lewandowski, turned Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting into a top-class striker, and before his firing, had Bayen in the last eight of the Champions League. That isn't an easy thing to do.

    Madrid would present a different challenge, but one Nagelsmann certainly has the brain to approach.

  4. Xabi Alonso
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    Xabi Alonso

    Alonso has worked wonders at Bayer Leverkusen. The German side were fighting a relegation battle when the former Liverpool and Real Madrid midfielder took over. A few months later, they are fighting for a European spot.

    This is no accident. Alonso has a young, energetic side playing to its full potential thanks to a number of shrewd tactical moves. He has given the talented Florian Wirtz licence to create, utilised the pace of Moussa Diaby, and reinforced what was a leaky back line.

    That this is his first senior management job makes it all the more impressive.

    Alonso is a product of the Madrid coaching system, taking over the U14s before moving to Real Sociedad B in 2019, and, after spending some of his best years as a player at the Santiago Bernabeu, he certainly has a strong connection to the club.

    As is the case with Raul, it is largely assumed that Alonso will take the Madrid job someday. Is now the right time?

  5. Antonio Conte

    Antonio Conte

    If Madrid are indeed about winning, then Conte is the man. The Italian may have snapped his uncanny spell of success at Spurs, but the ruthlessness that defines his sides is still very much there.

    Conte won't necessarily be fun at Real Madrid, nor will he have the same undying love for the shirt as Zidane or Raul. But he will, inevitably, get results.

    The club might be nervous to bring the Italian so soon after his now-infamous rant that got him the sack at Spurs. But the issues that he cited in North London – a lack of quality on the pitch and disinterest in success at the top level – certainly won't be problems for the Spanish giants.

    This is, in fact, a marriage that has almost happened in the past. Despite dressing-room resistance from the likes of former captain Sergio Ramos, Madrid were close to hiring Conte on a couple of occasions before, but the manager turned them down, having already been in jobs when the club made an approach.

    This time, the stars could align – for better or worse.

  6. Ruben Amorim

    Ruben Amorim

    One of the hottest commodities in European football, Amorim is the heir-apparent to Jose Mourinho as Portugal's next great manager. Tactically, he's not all that similar to 'The Special One' but the way that he has turned around the fortunes of a languishing Sporting CP club at such a young age has drawn inevitable comparisons.

    And much like Chelsea bringing in Mourinho in 2004, Amorin could be the man to start a new era in Madrid. He prefers an organised 3-4-3, and likes to press high up the pitch.

    He has an immaculate record for developing some top talent, too, with the likes of Nuno Mendes, Matheus Nunes and Pedro Porro all emerging from his stewardship at Sporting.

    His sides have already made waves on the European side, most recently beating Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium in the Europa League knockout stage. Results such as that are perhaps enough to convince Perez that Amorim could be the right man for Real.

  7. Marcelo Gallardo
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    Marcelo Gallardo

    The former River Plate manager has long coveted a European job, and a top club could come calling soon.

    Gallardo is something of an Argentine legend, enjoying immense success both on the pitch and in the dugout for River Plate. During nearly 15 years at the club, he became one of the world's finest tacticians, with a host of trophies to his name.

    But for all of his success in Argentina, Gallardo has never made it in Europe – in fact, very few are familiar with him on the continent. It's odd, given that he has drawn praise from Pep Guardiola.

    Now might be his time to shine, though. He called time on his River tenure last summer and while he's a rank outsider for the Real job, he would undeniably be an exciting appointment.

  8. Jose Mourinho
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    Jose Mourinho

    Mourinho does like a reunion – just ask Chelsea.

    The issue is, Mourinho didn't exactly leave Madrid on the best terms. His relationship with the club infamously crumbled, with the Portuguese's brash attitude rubbing many the wrong way.

    Mourinho hasn't necessarily changed, but he could come to Madrid a more experienced, battle-hardened manager than the one that effectively stormed out 10 years ago. Stints at Manchester United, Tottenham and now Roma have seen Mourinho tested.

    Perhaps he deserves another chance at a top club. He has certainly never feared a challenge, and loves the spotlight. There is also an argument to be made that a younger crop of players could do with a manager who takes no prisoners.

    Mourinho will undoubtedly leave some characters in the dust, but he has also been able to nurture some top talents at various clubs. Add his winning pedigree, and it's possible Madrid could be interested.

  9. Zinedine Zidane
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    Zinedine Zidane

    Speaking of reruns.

    Madrid and Zizou have been here before, with the Frenchman winning a trio of Champions Leagues in a row, before returning to win La Liga in 2020.

    That time, it didn't end well, with the manager insisting that Real Madrid no longer had faith in him. Regardless, it was time to go then. And it might be time to come back now. Madrid badly need stability at the centre of it all, and who better to turn to than a club legend?

    This will be a tougher test; Zidane doesn't have a perfectly moulded squad, and Barcelona are now a consistent title threat.

    But he still gets that Madrid DNA, and has enough tactical nous to piece together a solid side. It would also be lovely to see what Zidane could do with a young Jude Bellingham.

    As it stands, PSG are reportedly frontrunners for Zidane. But this one simply cannot be ruled out – even if another reunion seems unlikely right now.