Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Schuster is sacked, replaced by Juande Ramos

In hindsight, it was almost inevitable. Ramón Calderón survived a fractious AGM on Sunday and bought himself the time he needed to try to steer a new course before the ship that is Real Madrid is hauled into dock for a complete refit.

As it is, the sacking of Bernd Schuster and installation of Juande Ramos as caretaker coach is like careening the vessel at high tide to scour the hull: a superficial short-term fix that may do little to change the club's fortunes this season.

Sunday was a tough day for the club. The AGM approved the accounts, but with a fairly tight margin (55% of 'yes' votes). This was preceded by socio after socio standing up to speak to criticise Calderón for his management of the club. Though there was some vocal support from the gallery, the word was that they had been bussed in by the president to clap and cheer at the appropriate moments.

The accounts were approved and the budget was passed, but there remained the small matter of Sevilla visiting the Bernabéu in the evening. With Barcelona having demolished Valencia 4-0 the previous evening and nine points ahead in the standings before next week's Clásico at the Camp Nou, clinching all three points was essential for the men in white.

The game was a high scoring affair with refereeing controversy thrown in in for good measure. The visitors scored first (again) after a mistake by Casillas (again) before being pulled back by a Raúl goal. By half time Real Madrid were 3-1 down and the local crowd was chanting for the president (not the coach) to resign.

Somehow they managed to get back on equal terms after the break, with Arjen Robben providing the width that broke open the Sevilla defence. They could have even gone ahead but were denied by goalkeeper Palop's miraculous interventions in front of Raúl and Robben.

Sevilla were on the ropes and reeling when the referee decided to ignore a clear penalty on Higuaín by Palop and then showed Robben his second yellow card for protesting the decision. This proved another turning point in the match, with Sevilla making their extra man count to score the winner six minutes from time.

Schuster, in his post-match press conference, decided to dig his own grave (and, to the more cynical among us, guarantee himself a tidy pay-off) by saying the unsayable: "we cannot win at Barcelona because they are far superior and I think this will be their year. We can go there and be competitive, but that's about it".

Thirty-six hours later, Mijatovic informed Schuster of the club's decision to let him go and replace him with former Tottenham Hotspur and Sevilla manager Juande Ramos. After "short, but intense" negotiations, Juande signed for the remainder of the season, with an option to remain at the helm depending on the team's performance.

This weekend, Barcelona!

4 comments:

realmadrid200708 said...

First Michel and now Schuster. I am not being judging Ramos already, but I don't think he is the right man for the job.

Anonymous said...

Though there was some vocal support from the gallery, the word was that they had been bussed in by the president to clap and cheer at the appropriate moments.
The Ultras?

Who were the people chanting "Calderon, dimission!"?

I'd love to read your opinion on Schuster, now that he's gone.

Anonymous said...

Nice to see you back, Gonzalo. I thought you´d given up the blog out of sheer disgust with it all. Next week we will find ourselves with the humiliation of being below Depor!
I personally think Ramos is the wrong man for the job too. He showed himself to be clueless at Spurs in the face of adversity which is what he´s walked right into here. Well, I guess he might stand up from time to time and flap his arms about instead of cringing into his Adidas coat

Brian said...

Well, I guess he might stand up from time to time and flap his arms about instead of cringing into his Adidas coat

Haha, how true.