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The Real Madrid coaches who did not last long

Rafael Benítez has parted with Real Madrid a matter of weeks after a 10-2 win but, as Richard Martin tells us, many have suffered a similar fate and lived to tell the tale.

Rafael Benítez's short reign has ended
Rafael Benítez's short reign has ended ©Getty Images

Real Madrid have parted ways with Rafael Benítez after little more than five months in charge, but the Spaniard is not the first coach to have had his reign at the Santiago Bernabéu cut short earlier than expected – far from it. We profile six others who had short-lived spells at the club and lived to tell the tale.

Fabio Capello 
12 months – 1 July 1996 to 24 June 1997
12 months – 5 July 2006 to 28 June 2007 
The Italian's stints at Madrid followed a similar pattern: initial struggle, hit form, capture Liga title, have contract ripped up. Capello's tenures are a reminder that for a club like Madrid, simply winning trophies is not enough. Announcing Capello's second departure, president Ramon Calderón explained: "We've laid the foundations but we want a more enthusiastic way of playing."

Guus Hiddink 
6 months – 15 July 1998 to 23 February 1999 
The newly crowned European champions had high hopes of the man who had just led the Netherlands to the FIFA World Cup semi-finals, but a defeat by his future club Chelsea in the UEFA Super Cup was a false start from which he never really recovered. Four defeats after Christmas hastened Hiddink's demise, with Madrid president Lorenzo Sanz admitting that while the collapse was not entirely down to the Dutchman, "it's cheaper to sack a coach than half the squad".

Jupp Heynckes 
11 months – 25 June 1997 to 28 May 1998 
The German had a strange time in the Spanish capital, the lowest win percentage in the modern era somewhat offset by a first European Cup success in 32 years. "He was a great coach and an even better person," said Sanz, "and that worked against him because the players overpowered him." Eight days after overseeing Madrid's UEFA Champions League final victory against Juventus, Heynckes was out of a job.

Ramos and Raúl González
Ramos and Raúl González©Getty Images

Juande Ramos 
6 months – 9 December 2008 to 1 June 2009 
The former Sevilla boss was parachuted in mid-season to stabilise a Madrid side in relative chaos, nine points behind leaders Barcelona – a margin that soon became 12 after a debut Clásico defeat. Ramos turned things around with a remarkable run of 17 Liga wins in 18 games to give the Merengues a fighting chance. But Josep Guardiola's side ended all hope in devastating fashion, an awesome 6-2 victory at the Bernabéu sealing the title and Ramos's fate.

Vanderlei Luxemburgo 
11 months – 30 December 2004 to 4 December 2005 
The Brazilian's first job in Europe got off to a dream start with seven consecutive Liga wins, but there was no denying Barcelona the title. Luxemburgo was given another crack at the whip but things began to unravel and they hit a new low when Ronaldinho inspired Barcelona to a 3-0 win at the Bernabéu. He was applauded off by the home fans. There was little praise for Luxemburgo, however. He was out the door a fortnight later.

Pellegrini in familiar company
Pellegrini in familiar company©Getty Images

Manuel Pellegrini 
12 months – 1 June 2009 to 26 May 2010 
The Chilean adopted a squad boasting illustrious new arrivals in Xabi Alonso, Karim Benzema, Kaká and Cristiano Ronaldo. He got off to a strong start, but his team's wings were clipped by a 4-0 cup defeat by minnows Alcorcón. An early UEFA Champions League exit and two losses to Barcelona hardly helped either. To his credit, Pellegrini set a new club record by amassing 96 points – the problem was, Barcelona ended with 99.