Real Madrid coach Vanderlei Luxemburgo was sacked
on Sunday just over 11 months after taking charge of the nine-times European
The 53-year-old Brazilian, who was Real's fifth coach in the space of two and a
half years, was dismissed following an emergency board meeting at the club's
"The Real Madrid board has decided that Vanderlei Luxemburgo will not continue
as coach of the first team," club vice-president Emilio Butragueno told a news
"It wasn't an easy decision, but the board considered that we had reached a
point where we needed a change.
"The team were not living up to expectations and that worried both us and the
fans and that was the fundamental reason for our decision, which was unanimous."
The announcement came a day after Real's lacklustre 1-0 win at home to Getafe,
but the detonating factor was a humiliating 3-0 home defeat by arch-rivals
Barcelona two weeks ago.
Butragueno said Luxemburgo's four Brazilian assistants would also be dismissed
and that reserve team coach Juan Ramon Lopez Caro would take over on a caretaker
He added that a decision on a definitive replacement would be made in the next
Juventus boss Fabio Capello, who led Real to the league title in 1997, former
Celta Vigo and Porto coach Victor Fernandez, England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson
and Liverpool's Rafael Benitez have all been mooted as possible long-term
replacements for Luxemburgo.
The former Brazil and Santos coach was appointed at the end of December 2004 in
place of Mariano Garcia Remon when the club was in fifth place in the Primera
Liga, 13 points behind arch-rivals Barcelona.
He leaves the team in fourth place in the standings with 25 points from 14 games,
six behind joint leaders Barcelona and Osasuna. Real have also booked their
place in the last 16 of the Champions League.
The Brazilian got off to a dream start at Real when his side snatched victory in
a frantic seven-minute mini-match against Real Sociedad and then went on to win
seven league games in a row.
However, his brief honeymoon period came to an end when Real were knocked out of
both the King's Cup and the Champions League, though the team recovered in the
league to finish four points behind champions Barcelona.
The club then spent nearly 90 million euros ($105.3 million) in reconstructing
the squad during the close season, bringing in Brazilian strikers Robinho and
Julio Baptista, the promising Spanish international defender Sergio Ramos and
Uruguayan duo Pablo Garcia and Carlos Diogo.
But the expensive makeover failed to bring about an improvement in the team's
performances and they slumped to defeats against Olympique Lyon, Celta Vigo and
Espanyol in the opening weeks of the season.
Injuries to a succession of leading players did not help Real but more than
anything it has been the side's lack of flair that has caused consternation
among directors and fans alike.
Further defeats against Valencia and Deportivo Coruna and their 3-0 thrashing by
Barcelona at the Bernabeu in which fans ended the game applauding the opposition
and whistling the home players further undermined confidence in Luxemburgo.
Outwardly the club expressed its faith in the feisty Brazilian, but his failure
to deliver the stylish victories that the club demanded meant that his days were
Saturday's narrow victory over modest local rivals Getafe, which was not helped
by David Beckham's second half dismissal and ended with more jeering for the
home side, finally sealed his fate.
Real have failed to live up to their "Galactico" billing ever since Vicente del
Bosque was discarded in July 2003 after steering the club to two European Cups
and two league titles. They have not won a major trophy since the former
midfielder was cast aside.
Since then the club has gone through four other coaches in an attempt to find a
person capable of getting a star-studded squad that includes the likes of
Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane, Beckham and Robinho to live up to expectations.
The task now falls to Lopez Caro, a 42-year-old who has excelled as coach of the
club's reserve team Real Madrid Castilla but who has no experience of the
Spanish top flight.