Paco Alcácer's tying goal yesterday at the Mestalla against 10-man Real Madrid was apparently the final nail in Rafa Benitez's coffin; he has been sacked by Real Madrid, after 18 matches in the league (37 points) and an easy progression to the knockout rounds of the Champions League. Zinedine Zidane replaces him; he was directing their B team (Real Madrid Castilla). Benitez, of course, replaced Ancelotti, whose crime was apparently that he didn't win the league, despite being 14 points clear of third-placed Atleti. But hey, it's Madrid. Zidane may not be a terribly qualified coach, but he is a club legend and should serve to take (some of) the pressure off chairman Florentino Perez. But will he be anything more than an interim coach? Who knows.
As for Valencia, El Pais has a story that Gary Neville got his job through the good offices of Peter Kenyon, a friend of owner Peter Lim and "super-agent" Jorge Mendes. Kenyon was once a managing director of Manchester United, later went to Chelsea, and he and Mendes allegedly formed a company registered in Jersey that obtained footballers' rights, in contravention to UEFA regulations.
Apparently Lim told Mendes to find someone to replace Nuno who was not a Mendes client, and Mendes contacted Kenyon, who recommended Neville (who, sure enough, is not directly connected to Mendes). Again, this appears to be an appointment designed more to reduce fan pressure on the chairman (Lim) than on merit. Neville is, though, clearly a caretaker (though he says he wants to stay on) and today's El Pais reports that Nuno is still involved behind the scenes: he watches the tapes of Valencia training sessions and is in contact with Lim, and Neville.
From the perspective of a Villarreal fan, it's hard to feel a lot of empathy for either of the above clubs and their situation, especially Madrid's. Of course situations can arise that require drastic change; we went through that in the 2011-12 period. It is interesting though to note that since Marcelino took over at Villarreal (January 2013), Real Madrid have had four coaches, counting Zidane. Valencia are now on their fifth in that time period!
Marcelino will soon be our second-longest serving manager (at least since the 1980's; records seem to be scanty before then). Victor Munoz had the reins for three years (2000-2003 seasons) and of course Manuel Pellegrini coached for five seasons (2004-09).
And meanwhile, I can't find that anyone has mentioned this a lot, but Diego Simeone, hired in December 2011, has now served at Atletico Madrid for more than four consecutive years, making him the longest-serving coach there in terms of consecutive seasons. Luis Aragones coached more seasons there over several different periods, but Simeone has now held the reins for more consecutive months than anyone else.
I seem to recall when both Marcelino and Simeone were hired, the "common wisdom" was they wouldn't last long, because they never had spent long stints at clubs in the past. Sometimes it is a matter of finding the right manager, though. Valencia had theirs--Unai Emery--but got tired of him; Madrid didn't give Pellegrini a chance.
I'm so glad to be a Villarreal supporter!