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Top 5 most controversial manager sackings in history

Carlo Ancelotti - Everton
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Who do you think didn’t deserve the sack? Check it out as we go through the 5 most unfair manager dismissals in football.

Like everything in life, football has its downsides as many will discover in this worst manager sackings list.

They have to be tactically astute, a motivator, communicators, intelligent, and have the squad’s respect. Most importantly, though, winning matches consistently is a must no matter who the coach may be.

Because of the insane amount of cash being pumped into clubs, firing managers has become a common practice everywhere. Sometimes, however, these decisions have been downright stupid – as these gaffers found out the way hard way.

Julen Lopetegui – Spain (2018)

Julen Lopetegui
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This is perhaps one of the most shocking dismissals in Spain’s entire history.

Lopetegui enjoyed a solid two-year stint in charge of the national team and comfortably secured their 2018 World Cup qualification. He was undefeated in 20 games, having registered 14 wins and six draws.

It all looked promising for Spain heading into the 2018 World Cup. They hoped to redeem themselves from that terrible display in Brazil four years earlier and win a second title.

Just three days prior to Spain’s opening game against Portugal, however, Real Madrid announced Lopetegui as Zinedine Zidane’s replacement. The announcement stunned everybody. A furious Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) then sacked the coach on the spot, spoiling the national team’s preparations for Russia.

Without their coach, La Roja suffered an early last-16 exit to hosts Russia in the World Cup itself.

Ironically, Real Madrid president Florentino Perez fired Lopetegui just a few months later.

Jupp Heynckes – Bayern Munich (2013)

Jupp Heynckes
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Heynckes is one of Bayern Munich’s greatest coaches in history, at least.

The old boy achieved so much in Munich that he couldn’t make his mind up whether to retire or not.

And upon leading Bayern to a historic treble in 2012/13 by winning the Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal, and Champions League, Heynckes wanted to continue.

But club president Uli Hoeness brutally sent him into retirement in favor of recruiting Pep Guardiola as head coach.

“We informed Jupp early on that we were in contact (with Pep Guardiola),” said Hoeness in 2013.

“Of course he would have liked to have continued for another year, but in the end he decided this way. We are grateful that he didn’t make a scene.

“We had the chance to get Pep Guardiola now and who knows when that would have been possible again.”

After Guardiola swapped Bayern for Manchester City three years later, Heynckes returned to the club in 2017. The German led the Bavarians to another Bundesliga crown before retiring a year later.

Carlo Ancelotti – Real Madrid (2015)

Carlo Ancelotti
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Ancelotti took charge of Real Madrid in 2013, with Zinedine Zidane and Paul Clement joining him as his advisors.

The Italian quickly made changes by showing Gonzalo Higuain and Mesut Ozil the door, while bringing in a new playing system. Ultimately, it proved to be a great success for Los Blancos. He won the Copa del Rey and Champions League in his first campaign in charge.

Ancelotti later led Real Madrid to their first-ever Club World Cup title in December 2014 along with a UEFA Super Cup earlier on.

The following season they finished just two points behind La Liga champions Barcelona with a league-best of 118 goals. However, Florentino Perez made the “very difficult” decision to sack Ancelotti in May 2015. The decision sent shockwaves across Europe, with everyone flabbergasted by the Real Madrid president’s actions.

Perez then rehired Ancelotti in 2021 and saw his faith repaid in style when the former AC Milan coach led Real Madrid to La Liga and Champions League glory in his first season back.

Claudio Ranieri – Leicester City (2017)

caludio ranieri, leicester city
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What Ranieri did in the 2015/16 season will forever go down as one of football’s greatest achievements.

The Italian overcame odds of 5,000-1 to lead Leicester City to a historic Premier League title. They finished 10 points above second-place Arsenal and lost only three times in 38 games.

The following campaign, however, was a huge letdown for everyone at the King Power Stadium. Leicester had just won five league games and were in serious danger of becoming the first reigning champions to be relegated since 1938. So less than 24 hours after a 2-1 Champions League defeat to Sevilla, the Foxes board fired Ranieri.

Unsurprisingly, the decision to fire the ever-popular Italian didn’t go down well with Leicester’s supporters or the football community.

Vicente del Bosque – Real Madrid (2003)

Del Bosque
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Real Madrid do have an unfortunate history of changing managers regularly.

But firing Vicente del Bosque has to be one of their worst decisions ever after all he had achieved at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Two La Liga titles, two Champions Leagues, a Spanish Supercup, a UEFA Supercup, and the Intercontinental Cup all came during Del Bosque’s near four-year stint.

Florentino Perez, however, began his new “Galacticos” project and soon signed players without Del Bosque’s knowledge. The Real Madrid president then shocked everyone by electing to not renew the coach’s contract. End result? The club tailed off dramatically and endured many hardships before the 2010s decade began.

Spain, on the other hand, won two European Championships and a World Cup under Del Bosque.

Definitely not one of Florentino’s finest moments.