The new year of 2022 means a new name in charge of the squads in Monaco and Benfica, despite being slightly different in the definition.
The French side, AS Monaco is reportedly set to name a new boss soon to replace Nico Kovac who was dismissed at the end of the year. The Croatian boss was said to have fallen out with the management and some players in the squad including the skipper Wissam Ben Yedder. His failure to lead his team to the Champions League group stage this season was considered among one of the reasons, apart from the poor summer signings such as the Dutch man Myron Boadu, the German Ismael Jackobs and Bayern loanee Alexander Nubel. Despite still having a chance in the Europa League and snatched a positive result against Rennes before the winter break, their current position on the sixth of the table seems to disappoint the management.
The replacement, Phillip Clement, has a promising note in his CV. He is the manager who has won Belgium top flight in the past three seasons with two different teams, Genk in 2019 and Club Brugge in 2020 and 2021. The former defender was also Belgian international back in late 1990s and 2000s. He earned 38 caps and was named in De Rode Duivels' squad in two major tournaments, World Cup 1998 and EURO 2000. Clement is surely tasked to improve their domestic campaign, by securing Champions League spot and possibly clinching one domestic cup, and progress as further as possible in the continental competition. With the pool of young talents and senior high profile names in the squad, he should be able to optimise the team's potentials for such target.
On the contrary, Benfica chose a different path after terminating Jorge Jesus' contract at the end of 2021 following the disappointing defeat against Porto in the Portuguese Cup and their third position in the standings with seven points behind Sporting Lisbon and Porto. Instead of appointing a new boss, they opt for a familiar name to take charge of the team till the end of the season, Nelson Verissimo. He was previously guiding Benfica B last year and in fact, used to be the caretaker in 2020 when As Aguias only finished second.
Verissimo's objective for the rest of the season is fairly challenging. He is expected to lead Benfica catch up with their arch rivals in the league and go through further in the Champions League. Rafa and Co will be facing off a tricky opposition, Ajax Amsterdam in the round of 16.
His future as the head coach might be depending on the result this season. Should he fail to accomplish the mission, the President Rui Costa has been reportedly eyeing his former teammate in Milan, Andrea Pirlo to be named in the summer. The former Italian star had only one brief stint in Juventus in 2020/21 season. He only won Coppa Italia and Italian Super Cup but failed to endure Juventus' domestic domination in Serie A.