Julen Lopetegui’s brief and inglorious reign as Real Madrid coach lasted just 139 days after the club confirmed he had been sacked on Monday.
Lopetegui was dismissed following a meeting of the board of directors, who concluded there had been a “great disproportion between the quality of the staff of Real Madrid...and the results obtained to date”.Santiago Solari, the club’s B team coach, has been put in temporary charge and is now expected to lead Real for their Copa del Rey game against minnows Melilla on Wednesday.
Lopetegui’s last game proved a humiliation as Madrid were hammered 5-1 by rivals Barcelona in the Clasico on Sunday. The defeat was their fifth in seven games and, seemingly, convinced president Florentino Perez that change was required.
“This decision, adopted from the highest level of responsibility, aims to change the dynamics of the first team, when all the objectives of this season are still achievable,” a club statement read on Monday.
“The Board of Directors understands that there is a great disproportion between the quality of the staff of Real Madrid, which has eight players nominated for the next Golden Ball, something unprecedented in the history of the club, and the results obtained to date.”
Antonio Conte is the early favourite but initial talks have not gone smoothly, according to reports in the Spanish press. Others linked with the post include Belgium coach Roberto Martinez and former Real Madrid midfielder, Guti.
Solari is the man in position, however, after two seasons with Castilla, in which he oversaw them finishing 11th and eighth in Segunda B.For Lopetegui, the two biggest jobs in Spanish football have been lost in less than five months after his decision to join Madrid also cost him his role as Spain manager at the World Cup.
Meanwhile, Santiago Solari took charge of his first training session as interim Real Madrid coach on Tuesday.
The Argentinian, a former midfielder with the Spanish Liga giants, has replaced Julen Lopetegui, who was sacked following Real’s 5-1 defeat to Barcelona on Sunday.
According to Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) rules, Solari’s temporary tenure with the Champions League holders can last no more than 14 days, after which the club must decide to appoint him permanently or find another coach to replace Lopetegui.
Solari’s first game in charge will be a last 16 Spanish Cup tie against third division club Melilla on Tuesday.