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Conor McDonald: The Student

Started on 18 April 2020 by Jack
Latest Reply on 3 September 2020 by ScottT
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That. Was. Heartbreaking. </3!

Look, I'm ecstatic with the way the season has gone, and if you'd said to me "League or Champions League", then I'd have selected the league. You've made the breakthrough now, and you've knocked PSG off their perch, and although you'll need to strengthen this off-season: you're in a very good place. A few quality additions could make a massive difference next season, and I have enough faith in Conor to know that he'll make the right calls.

For now: it's time for him to enjoy a short vacation with Chloé
:( That's tough. It has been a fantastic run to the final though and plenty can be taken heading into next season's European campaign.

April & May Results















Ligue 1 Standings (as of 31st May 2028)



Conor’s Verdict

An absolutely monumental season. There is no other way of putting it. Our last league loss was way back in October 2027 and that alone just demonstrates our consistency as well as this team’s desire to win.

April and May provided us with some very challenging fixtures that could have easily caused a slip-up such as playing Lyon who had defeated PSG 4-1 earlier in the season which was a key result in our rise to the top of the table.

Once we got past Monaco, Marseille, Toulouse and Lyon, I knew then that we had won the title. I didn’t openly celebrate until it was confirmed, but I knew.

In the Champions League I was delighted with our performances – even in the Final. I never expected with our league form to also take on and smash past Manchester City and Borussia Dortmund.

The Final was disappointing but it was to be expected from a team that not only won it last year but also romped home to La Liga success for the fourth consecutive year.

James: It's always a heavy task taking on the European champions in the European final! Like you say, a very impressive season regardless of the Champions League Final even if it would have been delightful to have in my personal cabinet. It's a trophy for another day. Time for that holiday ;)
Scott: There's no doubt I'm proud about our European adventure and it is a shame to lose out at the final stage but it's a leap for another season!

The Season Planning


“Welcome Conor, great to see you,” Joseph DaGrosa said as he shook hands with Conor. “Please, take a seat.”

Conor sat at the side of the head of the table, in between the owner DaGrosa and the managing director Frédéric Longuépée. Conor’s assistant manager Henrik Pedersen, the director of football Eduardo Maciá and the youth managers Alexander Frei and Emmanuel Giudicelli were also present at the table.

Joseph DaGrosa took his seat at the head of the table. “Thank you all for coming guys, it’s been a tremendous season for all of our teams and us men in suits have a lot to thank you guys for!” DaGrosa laughed as he opened his file which outlined the agenda for today’s meeting.

The meeting went through with the Under-19s and general academy being arranged for the next season before speaking to Giudicelli and outlining the general plan for the clubs’ second “B” team.

Conor was happy with the plans for the other teams but now it was time for the most important section of the meeting – the first-team plans. DaGrosa already had a shifty manner about him, opposite to his posture when speaking about the other Bordeaux teams.

“And onto the first-team,” the owner said. “Firstly, huge congratulations to Conor and his coaching team and players for this seasons exceptional performance in the league and Europe. He has been a credit to this club since coming in and we are delighted with his and Henrik’s contributions over the past three seasons.”

The room nodded and cheered in agreement with DaGrosa’s comments regarding the success of this season. He then moved onto the plans for the upcoming campaign.

“So, we are happy with the playing squad this season and we also realise that the dependence we have had on loans in recent years has been great, but has produced great results in the same way.

“We don’t want to interfere in first-team squad issues at all, we’re happy with all of the players and I hope the players are the same.

“This season we are setting out a transfer budget of one million Euros and increasing the wage budget by twenty-thousand Euros per week- “

Conor butted in. “Sorry, was that one million Euros you just said?” He asked as he stopped writing notes based off what DaGrosa had said so far.

Joseph sighed nervously before repeating: “Yes, one million Euros.”

“Would it be OK for you to give us some privacy to discuss a few things?” Conor asked as he looked at the youth team managers before turning to sternly look at Joseph DaGrosa.

Conor waited for Giudicelli and Frei to leave the room. They clearly also had a concern about what DaGrosa had just said regarding the budget.

As the door shut, Conor stood up from his seat and launched a tirade at the owner and the managing director.

“So you two are telling me after I have won the first league title in nineteen years and reached the clubs first-ever Champions League final and as my big reward I get no money to build on?” Conor confronted them.

“Conor, we don’t have the finances to offer you anything big.” Longuépée said as his first comment after DaGrosa’s initial statement.

“Yes, you do, don’t even lie to me. If you are telling me that you can afford to give me a thirty million Euro budget last season, we win the title and go through all the way to the Champions League final that time and now we have no money? It’s bullshit, Fred.

“You know what Paris are going to be doing after losing the title, getting knocked out of Europe early doors? The exact same thing they did when Lyon won the title a few years back: they will spend four-hundred million upwards. What are we doing in response? Handing them the title.” Conor said, his face boiling red with anger.

“You managed to do it for us this year, there’s no reason why you can’t again with the same team more or less.” DaGrosa said.

“Do you really think a winning streak like this season’s is just a thing we’re going to be able to do every season? You two really aren’t football people, are you? I’m walking out now, when I see you next, there better be a HEAVILY revised budget.” Conor said as he pushed his chair back to stand up. “Come on Henrik, let’s go.”

As Conor and Henrik Pedersen walked away from the board room they ranted about the board members present, including the director of football Maciá who they both knew was a good friend of DaGrosa and Longuépée.

Walking down the corridor, Conor unlocked his phone and opened up the conversation page with his agent Kevin Tilson.


Considering the money you would've brought into the club via your league finish, your Champions League campaign, etc. it's a massive joke from the board to have given you those budgets. Seems they're wishing to put the money in their pockets [along with the rest of their investors] and give you sod all money to take the next step required. It's an absolute joke really, and I can understand your frustration with them. It seems like they're happy being "little old Bordeaux" and don't want to be challenging for honours every season. Mongs.

If Conor were to leave: what are the options!?

The Call



Conor sat admiring Chloé swimming in the pool outside their holiday villa. In March, Conor had taken it upon himself to buy a place in Málaga on the south coast of Spain. In total the place had cost him €500,000 after furnishings – a considerable amount considering that he was only to spend a short time a year there.

Over the football season, Conor placed the villa on Airbnb to make sure that the property was not always unlived in and had hired a maid to regularly clean the place after tourists had stayed there as it was a popular place for English people in particular to book.

He rarely smoked, especially throughout the season as it was a bad impression to give the players if spotted but whilst in his home, he treated himself to a Marlboro Gold whenever he felt like.

He had requested no-contact from Bordeaux until he returned for training. Given that Conor had sent his agent Kevin to tout his name to other clubs on the quiet, DaGrosa was the last person he wanted to bother him during his leisure time.

That was when Conor felt his phone vibrating in his shorts, Kevin was calling him. The last time he had spoken to his agent was to fully outline the desires he had for the sort of club. Conor had said he wanted a challenge – obviously in Europe – but with a certain pay-rise and a step-up from Bordeaux.

“Kevin, talk to me.” Conor greeted his agent over the phone whilst stubbing out his cigarette in the ashtray.

“Afternoon Conor, how’s the getaway?” Kevin replied.

“Which one?!” Conor laughed, mocking his attempt to get out of Bordeaux. “No, Málaga is as beautiful as ever, we’re heading to the strip tomorrow night to get out a bit more. The fish over here is absolutely stunning, you ought to come over yourself!”

“That’s great, glad you’re enjoying it, mate.” Kevin said with a pause at the end of his reply. “You might have to cancel that trip tomorrow though; I’ve got something for you.”

Conor took a sip out of his Corona bottle and sat up in his chair. “Yeah? It better be worthwhile.”

“Well, it depends how you view Real Madrid sending a private jet to Málaga to come get you tomorrow at ten o’clock. I spoke with Alcaraz after putting a few feelers out there. He’s serious. Are you in?” Kevin said.

Conor stood up and paced along the side of the pool. Chloé stopped swimming to look at Conor’s reaction despite not knowing what her boyfriend had just been told.

“Are you shitting me here, Kevin?” Conor asked, making sure that this wasn’t a wind up.

Conor could hear his agent sound a sigh over the phone. “Conor, you just got Bordeaux into the Champions League Final and beat Paris in a league they’ve been taking the piss in for a few decades. I’m meeting you at Málaga Airport tomorrow at eight-thirty tomorrow. That’s if you want to come?”

“I’m there.” Conor said. “See you tomorrow.”

Conor hung up the phone and went inside the villa, once again pacing around the kitchen scratching his head. Real Madrid were the biggest club on the planet, this was life-changing for him.

Chloé had followed Conor inside with a towel wrapped around her back. “Is everything OK, Conor?” she asked him.

“We need to cancel our plans tomorrow I’m afraid,” Conor said with both of his hands on the kitchen worktop, leaning over and looking at his girlfriend in the eyes.

“Well… why? I thought we were going to the strip?” she asked.

“We’re flying to Madrid tomorrow morning with Kevin. Ten o’clock. Real Madrid want to talk.”

James: It was annoying beyond belief, I was genuinely excited for the budget email until I read it and it came through with next to nothing. Absolutely no ambition shown by them. As for the next chapter, well, it could be something big... ;)
I'm not too sure how I feel about this, mainly due to Madrid being a bunch of 'c' words...

BUT

If anyone is to change the toxic culture at the Bernabéu: it's Conor. This fall-out with Bordeaux aside, which is understandable, he's shown a tremendous amount of patience and loyalty during his time with Cobh. Can he handle the step up to the 'big leagues' where his every move is scrutinized online..?
I don't blame Conor at all. It's a real low-blow from the board at Bordeaux to offer such little cash to work with in the market considering all he has achieved with them in a short amount of time. At least with a potential move to Real Madrid, Conor will never have to worry about such little amount of cash to work with.

Manzanares



“It’s just down here, Manzanares meeting room, Terminal Two,” Kevin said, rushing hurriedly as he looked at the building layout that Real Madrid’s administration team had sent him via email.

Conor and Chloé tried to fit in as normal arrivals, wearing sunglasses, a baseball cap and basic clothing but Kevin’s suit and tie didn’t really help disguise the fact that something big in the football world was about to occur right on the doorstep of the Spanish capital.

As they reached the meeting room destination a receptionist had to take all three of their names to be allowed through security and into the Manzanares room. Once verified and accepted, Kevin led the way.

Kevin was the first into the room and thus the first to greet the Madrid executives meanwhile Conor and Chloé lagged five seconds behind. The couple both switched off their mobile phones upon entering.

The room catered for fourteen people but was adjusted for the eight that were attending. On the Madrid side, Conor only really recognized the face of the club president Rubén Alcaraz who had always been in the media since succeeding Florentino Pérez almost ten years ago.

“Mister McDonald, a pleasure to meet with you today. May I say, very unlucky with the Final – terrible business, especially losing to them!” Alcaraz said, shaking Conor’s hand before greeting Chloé shortly after.

Once the pleasantries had ended, it was Kevin who was the man who initiated the business chat after everybody helped themselves to a glass of water each. Introductions were given to all the attending directors from Madrid as well as the woman who was recording the meeting.

“So, Conor, why the desire to leave Bordeaux after such successes this season?” Alcaraz asked.

“A lack of ambition from up above. I’m sure you’re all well-tuned with my achievements in France, particularly more recently. We had a meeting not too long ago, before my holiday to the Spanish coast, they essentially told me that there’s no money in the bank,” Conor said with a hint of bitterness as he recalled the meeting with DaGrosa and Longuépée.

There were long discussions about money, publicity and all sorts of jargon before Alcaraz admitted: “Conor, you are Real Madrid’s number one target to take over. Not a single trophy in over two years at this club has taken its toll. The supporters are disenfranchised. We had to sack our manager for the first time in well over a decade.

“We know that you are a winner, everybody has seen that. I recall your Europa League win with Cobh as the first time that I had heard of you and from there – fantastic.

“I want to present to you and your agent a three-year contract, €165,000 per week. €26 million, essentially, all yours.”

Conor sat back and looked at Kevin with the sheet of paper in front of him. It was a mind-blowing amount of money. A €140,000 weekly pay rise in comparison with his Bordeaux contract. Despite this, he still had issues with Alcaraz to iron out.

“I don’t know, Señor Alcaraz,” Conor said, looking at the club president bluntly. He could almost feel Kevin’s eyes angrily digging into his face, he knew that Conor wouldn’t get many better offers on the table.

“I need assurances.” Conor said.

“Enlighten us,” Alcaraz replied, smiling.

Conor began: “What has happened to Real Madrid since 2026? In fact, no, since 2024? I don’t mean to offend you, but since you won your first term as president, you have won just one La Liga title – and even that title was the last bastion of Perez’s team.

“Not a single Champions League trophy under your tenure as president, only getting past the quarter-finals on one occasion. It doesn’t fill me with confidence working under this, it’s just something I have to admit before signing anything. I impressed you, you need to impress me.

“The squad needs overhauling. Completely. This team you have now bears no resemblance to what a Real Madrid team should look like. Are you prepared to back me with funding for an entire new squad? Because that’s who I am. I rebuilt a useless Cobh in my own image, I rebuilt a crumbling Bordeaux in my own image. That is what I’m good at. I know what a Real Madrid team under Conor McDonald should look like.”

Alcaraz looked genuinely horrified at the accusations that Real Madrid’s failings in the past decade are down to him. In his heart, he wanted to fight back, in his head, he knew he needed Conor to fix the problems that he had created.

“You’re right,” Alcaraz said as Kevin breathed a sigh of relief at not losing the deal. “We are prepared to provide four-hundred million euros for transfers. Since you are insistent on replacing the team more or less, the rest of that budget will be provided through player sales.”

The Madrid directors looked mystified at what Alcaraz had just put to McDonald. A pre-agreed budget of €400 million was clearly unheard of under his regime.

“Then we can call this a deal.” Conor said with a smile. He stood up and shook Alcaraz’s sweaty hand. “My lawyers will look through the contract but I’m willing to let you release that we have verbally agreed a deal.”

James: To be the best team in the world, sometimes you have to be a set of c***s ;) The atmosphere around Madrid has been toxic, particularly under their new president. There seems to be a way through, though.
Scott: You would expect gratitude paid back in support from board level but it just is not there. All of those problems have seemingly gone away with a move to Madrid however!
Conor isn't afraid to pile in the home truths then! It certainly got him what he wanted and much more.

Conor McDonald replaces Jürgen Klopp as Real Madrid manager



Conor McDonald had replaced Jürgen Klopp as manager of Real Madrid following the German’s sacking after just under two years in charge.

Klopp’s last match as boss saw Real throw away a one goal lead in the El Clásico as they lost 2-1 against Carlo Ancelotti’s Barcelona in the last La Liga fixture of the 2027/28 season, leaving the club eighteen points off the champions as the season concluded.



Real Madrid’s new coach Conor McDonald arriving to address the press at the Bernabeu


McDonald, who managed Bordeaux to a Ligue 1 title and a Champions League Final last season, left the French champions after issues with the board arose at the Stade de Bordeaux.


In his 103 games at the helm, Jürgen Klopp saw Real Madrid win 63


In his 25 games into a four-year contract, Klopp led Real to 63 wins, 15 draws and 25 defeats, the twenty-third best in the club’s successful history.

McDonald will sign a three-year deal on Wednesday to become Real Madrid’s 18th manager this century, with the club having won just one league title in the past eight seasons.

Madrid’s third British manager said at the club’s press conference: “I am going to do everything that I can to return this club to glory. It is a very important day for me. What I will tell you is that I am going to give everything for this club.



Guillem Balagué believes Conor McDonald will find it difficult to inspire the current Real Madrid team after years of failure


“Ever since I was a young boy growing up, I loved Real Madrid and knew how great the club was. We have the best fans in the world and I am going to do everything to win. It is an honour to be at this club but to make my time worthwhile, I must be successful.

Club president Rubén Alcaraz said of McDonald: “He is the greatest young manager in world football right now. I am delighted to welcome Conor McDonald, the coach of Real Madrid.”

And of Klopp, Alcaraz added: “I would like to make it clear that he is a great professional.”

Klopp, 61, took over from Massimiliano Allegri in the summer of 2026 after the Italian left to take the Juventus role in July, and the former Liverpool boss lost only one of his first nine games in charge.

The German had a miserable time in the Champions League with Real as he failed to take the club past the first knockout stages on both attempts.

But Klopp’s low point was Real’s humiliating end of the season run last year, losing both 4-1 to Sevilla and 2-1 to rivals Barcelona who secured their fourth straight La Liga title with great ease.

Conor McDonald will take Real Madrid on a preseason tour to China to play against Guangzhou Evergrande, Beijing Guoan and Hebei China Fortune before starting their league campaign against Osasuna in August.

Former Real Madrid president Florentina Pérez urged his successor Alcaraz to support all of McDonald’s needs in the transfer window, hinting towards a third galáctico era in order to lift the club back to success.

“When we went three years without a Liga, action had to be taken,” Pérez said. “This is one of the darkest periods I have ever seen the club go through with Barca now catching up to have the most titles.

“I urge Rubén to give Mr. McDonald whatever tools he requires in order to build a world-class team and put Real Madrid back on top of world football’s throne.”

McDonald’s transfer budget has not been verified by the media but with his previous successes on limited budgets with Cobh Ramblers and Bordeaux, pundits are unsure whether Alcaraz chose the Englishman for his ability to work with a small budget or if he is prepared to offer him a large budget to rebuild the club.

Scott: You'd usually leave it to the agent, but his personal confidence is brewing :P
I think that by saying what he said in the meeting, Conor has shown that he won't be bullied or be a 'yes man' to the board. For the club to be in the position that it's in, something has gone very wrong, and they must've been trying 'quick fixes' rather than doing things properly. I actually think that you'll spend more than the €400m they've allocated, and you'll need to review the squad quickly. If they're not good enough for a title charge: they need to gtfo.

Now.

Time to spend your newly found riches ;)
A three-year-deal being offered by the Madrid hierarchy suggests there is a vast amount of confidence that Conor is the man to bring success back to the club after a horrific spell under the presidency of Alcaraz.

Six Stars Sold as McDonald Begins Real Revamp


Youri Tielemans and Krzysztof Piatek were among the first casualties of Conor McDonald’s new regime at the Santiago Bernabéu as just under €200million was gathered in transfer fees.

New English manager Conor McDonald has been in charge of Real Madrid for little over a fortnight since taking the reigns from the dismissed Jurgen Klopp in June. In that time, twenty players currently under contract in the capital have been listed for transfer as the 30-year-old leads a rapid overhaul at the club.

Youri Tielemans was the first to agree his departure as he returned to Leicester City in a €55,000,000 deal with the English Premier League outfit.

The Belgian captain stayed for three years at the club since signing for €56million from then-French champions Paris Saint-Germain. Although never a constant starter in Klopp’s teams, Tielemans made 80 appearances for Los Blancos during a period of struggle for the club.

With Tielemans taking a pay cut to return to the King Power Stadium for the first time since 2024, Real Madrid have agreed to continue paying €30,000 of Tielemans’ original €225,000 per week contract at Madrid.



New Monaco striker Krzysztof Piatek


33-year-old Polish striker Krzysztof Piatek also departed to Monaco for €20,000,000 after seven fairly successful years in the Spanish capital.

Piatek scored 80 goals in 235 whilst leading the line under a variety of different managers after signing for €94million from AC Milan in 2021 during Zidane’s second spell at Real.

With a wealth of experience behind him, it looks as though the 64-time international will see out the rest of his career with David Guion’s Monaco in Ligue 1.

The second largest fee recouped by Real Madrid was the €49,000,000 from Liga NOS’ FC Porto who picked up Danish winger Andreas Skov Olsen following his loan spell at the Estádio do Dragão last season.

The 28-year-old’s optional permanent clause was activated by the Portuguese champions after a great season where he scored 15 and assisted nine in 48 games in all competitions.

Prior to his initial loan move to Porto, Skov Olsen went on loan to fellow Spanish top-flight outfit Sevilla where he failed to impress before having his loan terminated early.

The €49million fee means that Real have made a €5million loss on the winger since he arrived from Bologna four years ago. He had a rough time generally in Spain as he failed to really break into the first-team, leading to his listing for a loan spell elsewhere.



England centre-back John Stones

The fourth player to exit Real Madrid was English defender John Stones who left despite having two years remaining on his contract in Spain.

The 34-year-old has flown back to his home country to play in the Premier League for Wolverhampton Wanderers after the two clubs agreed a €14million fee.

Since falling out of favour with Ancelotti at Manchester City, Stones was snapped up for just over €60million by Massimiliano Allegri at Real and became a regular starter under both the Italian and Klopp later. Stones made 121 appearances for Real Madrid and will now likely see out the end of his career at Molineux.

Following two consecutive season-long loan spells out of the club, right-back Álvaro Odriozola finally made a permanent move away from the capital by penning a three-year deal with Basque outfit Athletic Club.

Odriozola only spent three years intensely involved with the first team at Real in the nine years he was at the club. In 2026, he fell out of favour once more after Davide Calabria was signed that summer.

In order to get as much first-team football as possible, Odriozola forced through an initial loan spell at Napoli before a second season away from La Liga by joining Wolves last season. Athletic Club have paid €25million for his services after an impressive season in the English Premier League.



Kaio Jorge playing for Santos

After becoming renowned across the nation as one of the worst big-money flops in recent memory, Kaio Jorge has ended his horror spell at Real Madrid by agreeing a €30million move to Zenit St. Petersburg.

Almost a decade ago, the Brazilian striker was tipped to be one of the world’s next greatest wonderkids after scoring 30 goals in 49 for his hometown club Santos at the age of 18 years old.

Jorge was duly snapped up by one of Europe’s elites as Manchester United snapped him up in 2022 for a fee of €21.5million. He spent little over one year in Manchester as after a great start to the 2023/24 Premier League season, Real came in with a €76million offer to bring him to Spain.

That La Liga season, Kaio Jorge failed to make a single start as he came on as a substitute only nine times, scoring twice. He would not make a single league appearance the next season as he was passed down to the Castilla team despite his transfer fee.

After making only one substitute appearance in the 2025/26 season, Kaio Jorge was subsequently loaned out to Serie A outfit Cagliari where he scored 7 goals in 33 starts under Martin Palermo’s management.

The striker failed to make a single appearance in any competition last season and his career at the Santiago Bernabéu was defined by one statistic: Kaio Jorge costed Real Madrid €76million for every start he made for the club over the course of five years.

The two-time Brazilian international is now seeking to rebuild his career at the age of 26 as he finally departs Spain for a final time.

James: I wouldn't have guessed Klopp to be a yes man, I just think he made some very poor financial decisions as seen with some of his transfers. With these sales, money will be even more abundant to what I want to achieve here.
Scott: A risk, but given the gargantuan nature of Real as a club, not a very expensive risk as much as the finances will help Conor personally!
Congratulations on finally capturing the Ligue 1 title for Bordeaux again and unlucky for the loss in the final, Barca were just that step up in quality unfortunately but a brilliant season. The board have lost their minds giving you that budget and no wonder Conor has landed on his feet and then some with Real Madrid. I see him extracting his revenge on Barca soon enough and with a budget of 400M topped up with another 200 from sales of ageing players or a massive flop in Jorge, I am excited to see who is bought in.

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