This was a big week for European soccer as both the Europa League and the Champions League final took place over the past week. It took Villarreal 120 minutes and then a missed penalty from Manchester United’s David de Gea to give the yellow submarine their first ever Europa League title. The Red Devil’s left searching for their first title under Ole Gunnar Solskjær, with many feeling the time is now for United. Chelsea won the Champions League final by beating Manchester City 1-0 in Portugal. But, these headlines may not even be the biggest stories of the week as there has been an exodus of managers leaving their current clubs and signing elsewhere.
Bon Voyage, Zizou!
The biggest managerial announcement was when Zinedine Zidane left Real Madrid, very similarly to 2018 when he left the same post. There could be many reasons for the Frenchman to leave, but the current squad of players for next year looks like it will be another tough season for Real Madrid. He barely kept Los Blancos in the title fight and did well enough to take them to the Champions League semi-finals, but with an aging squad they need to start rebuilding and phasing out the likes of Marcelo, Sergio Ramos, and Karim Benzema.
Where will Zidane go? Many were thinking he’d return to Juventus, but they just announced the signing of Massimiliano Allegri last Friday. Zinedine Zidane is a great manager who knows the sport in and out and would be a great hire for any European club looking to win titles.
Pirlo Shown Exit
As mentioned, the Turin-based club decided to fire their first year manager Andrea Pirlo after a disappointing season which saw them sneak into the Champions League place on the last day of the season. Juventus were upset by the 2019/2020 Portuguese champions Porto in the Champions League round of 16 after they advanced on the controversial away goal rule which may be scraped for future competitions. As a player, Andrea Pirlo made 168 appearances for the club between 2011 and 2015. The Italian won four consecutive league titles for Juventus and one Coppa Italia, the domestic cup in Italy.
This feels all too similar to the Frank Lampard situation at Chelsea, a first year coach given the reins for a club that is too big for a first time managerial job. Pirlo may be out of a job now, but expect the young, knowledgeable former midfielder to be back in the coaching ranks soon.
What do Tottenham do now? The Jose Mourinho experiment blew up in their face and are now left with a Harry Kane dreaming of Champions League football (which they missed out on) and many wondering where Gareth Bale will end up (either in Madrid or a golf course). Mauricio Pochettino is being rumored to be a front-runner for the Spurs job this summer after being sacked in 2019 by Daniel Levy. The Argentinian is upset by his current employers (PSG) handling of Kylian Mbappe’s contract and transfer demands. The hope is the sight of the Argentinian will hope the club get back to the highs of a Champions League final in 2019. Pochettino will hope to keep Harry Kane happy and will boost their chances of pushing for the top of the table next season.
Ajax’s Erik ten Hag has previously been linked to the position, but just signed an extension for the Amsterdam-based club. Wolves’ Nuno, Belgium’s Roberto Martinez and former Inter Milan manager Antonio Conte are all linked with the job. This may be the most intriguing position to fill as the future of Harry Kane and Tottenham are certainly hanging in the balance.
There were plenty of other managerial changes, as well. Antonio Conte left Inter Milan after winning the league title due to financial disagreements between the owners of coaching staff. Sam Allardyce stepped down after not wanting to build a winning club with West Bromwich Albion. Nuno Espirito Santo got the boot from Wolverhampton after 1453 days in charge. Bayern’s Hansi Flick agreed to take control over the German national team until 2024. Does Ronald Koeman leave Barcelona this summer? There will be a lot of sacking and managerial movements this summer and this seems to be just the start.