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Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 June, 2003, 11:33 GMT 12:33 UK
The unluckiest manager ever sacked?
By Tom Fordyce

Poor old Vicente del Bosque.

You might think that winning two European Cups, two Spanish league titles, one European Super Cup and one World Club Cup in four years in charge at Real Madrid might be enough to keep him in a job.

But no. On Tuesday Real decided not to renew his contract, less than 48 hours after he had led the club to the Spanish championship.

In typical fashion, Del Bosque's facial expression changed not one iota. As throughout his time at the club, he carried on with his first-class impression of a slightly tired Rene from 'Allo 'Allo.

It is a strange tale from start to finish - how the shy, moustachioed man from Salamanca came to be in charge of the most expensive and talented bunch of footballers in the modern game, won the biggest trophies on offer and then got the boot in favour of a man yet to be named.

With the Real superstars, Del Bosque was extremely popular - partly because he was more than happy to let them get on with it.

Cool as a cryogenically-frozen cucumber, he managed to avoid confrontations with his charges, despite the stellar egos in the squad, and never once lost his calm in front of the media.

Which, according to his critics, is where he went wrong. Having been responsible for bringing Raul and Guti through the ranks during his spell in charge of the Real youth side, he was unable to impose sufficient discipline on them as first-team coach.

That's the argument, anyway. But his record as the Bernebeu boss would appear difficult to argue with.

DEL BOSQUE COMPARED
Vicente del Bosque
% games won by Vicente del Bosque at Real: 55.91%
Alex Ferguson at Man Utd: 56.03%
Arsene Wenger at Arsenal: 56.69%
Bob Paisley at Liverpool: 56.92%

Of the 186 games Real played under his relaxed stewardship, they won 104 - which equates to 55.91% of the total.

How does that compare with best managers in Britain? Interestingly, Sir Alex Ferguson has won 516 of his 921 games in charge at Manchester United - giving him 56.03%, albeit with one less European Cup and bags more league titles.

Arsene Wenger edges both of them out with 56.69% - but without Champions League success - while even better is the great Bob Paisley, who won 56.92% of his games at Liverpool and managed three European Cups in that time.

Del Bosque's style was very different to that of his rival at Old Trafford.

He preferred to keep his head down and leave the running of the club to others, content to play the role of loyal club servant.

He had been a popular if unspectacular player for Real during the 1970s and early 1980s, winning five league titles and four Spanish Cups in addition to 18 international caps.

When his playing days came to an end, he moved into coaching with barely a murmur, taking over as caretaker boss of the Real first team for 11 matches in 1993-4 and for a further game in 1996 before taking the reins on John Toshack's dismissal in November 1999.

It was never meant to be a permanent move, which is why he has been offered the post as technical director at Real now his services are no longer required as coach.

Whether Del Bosque takes up that role or not, do not expect to see him cropping up later in a high-profile manager's role elsewhere.

He never asked for the spotlight to be turned on him in the first place, never enjoyed the pressure and ultimately paid the price for not being a big enough name for a club where image is everything.




SEE ALSO
Real consider Queiroz
24 Jun 03  |  Football
Real ditch Del Bosque
23 Jun 03  |  Other European


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