End of soccer season shuffling begins

  • 2004-05-27
  • From wire reports
RIGA - The final whistle was barely up on the soccer season, when big heads started rolling. Real Madrid wasted no time whatsoever in sacking its coach Carlos Queiroz and replacing him with Jose Antonio Camacho, the former coach of the Spanish national team.

The move was hardly a surprise considering Madrid's ruthless dealings when it comes to its personnel. Last year it sacked coach Vincente del Bosque less than 24 hours after the end of the season, despite the fact Madrid won the Primera Liga.
Under Queiroz, Madrid came fourth in the league and failed to win a single trophy for the first time in five years. Queroz had joined Madrid on a two-year contract from Manchester United, where he was coach Alex Ferguson's assistant.
Meanwhile English Premier League side Liverpool did away with its coach Gerard Houllier, albeit in a slightly more humane fashion.
Houllier was effectively forced to resign under intense pressure from the board, and would certainly have been sacked had he not done so.
Liverpool finished fourth in the league but, although it qualified for the lucrative Champions League, it finished some 30 points behind league winners Arsenal. Clearly, Liverpool is still a long way from challenging the hegemony of Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United.
And after a season of intense speculation, Chelsea looks set to sack its popular Italian coach Claudio Ranieri, though it's still unclear who his replacement will be.
Highly sought after Porto coach Jose Mourinho is being courted by both Chelsea and Liverpool, although Mourinho has previously expressed a preference to work at Anfield over the superrich London team.
It's also the end of an era for Bayern Munich after it parted ways with Ottmar Hitzfeld by mutual consent. Hitzfeld is a Munich legend and one of the team's most successful managers, but he will now be replaced by Stuttgart coach Felix Magath.