Revolution is in the air at Real Madrid after their Champions League empire was razed to the ground with an astounding 4-1 loss at home to Ajax Amsterdam on Tuesday. The changes will involve an overhaul of players as well as a change of manager. Coach Santiago Solari may have a contract until 2021 but no one expects him to remain beyond the close of the season after overseeing Tuesday’s catastrophic last-16 second leg defeat. The defeat ended the capital club’s 1,012-day reign as kings of Europe. It also effectively ended Madrid’s season, after successive defeats to Barcelona which sent them out of the Copa del Rey and put them 12 points adrift of Barca in the title race. Madrid are now five points further adrift than when Solari succeeded Julen Lopetegui in October. Jose Mourinho is already being touted as the man best suited to lead the transformation of a squad that has won it all but turned stale. The former Manchester United boss won a La Liga title with 100 points but left a legacy of division in his three years at Madrid.
The Portuguese is out of work after being sacked by Manchester United in December. Despite meeting another dire end to his penultimate job with Chelsea, Madrid-based newspaper, Marca, appears to be beating the drum for his return. The paper urged president Florentino Perez to bring him back to the Santiago Bernabeu. “Only one positive conclusion can be extracted from the wreckage of a dark night: the best coach in the world, Jose Mourinho, has time to work,” said the newspaper. “Mourinho’s advantage is he is free and is waiting for the call. Bring him, Florentino bring him now.” Overhauling a squad with many underperforming players already over the age of 30 or approaching it and on inflated wages will be a more complicated process for Madrid. Gareth Bale, who hit the post against Ajax and ended the game hobbling with an ankle injury, and looks to be at the end of his tether in Spain.