Real Madrid sack Lopetegui

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Real Madrid have sacked head coach Julen Lopetegui after a poor run of results culminated in a 5-1 defeat at the hands of Barcelona in Sunday’s Clásico.

Real Madrid Castilla head coach Santi Solari has been put in interim charge with the view of a permanent appointment during the November international break.

The official statement on Real Madrid’s website cited ‘the great disproportion between the quality of the Real Madrid squad and the results obtained up until this date’ as a reason for his departure.

The former Porto and Spain boss lost five of his last seven games in charge, with his only win in that run coming against Viktoria Plzen.

The dismissal comes just four months after Lopetegui was sacked as Spain manager just two days before their World Cup opener against Portugal.

The 52-year-old took over after Zinedine Zidane the day after his Spain sacking with the Spanish Football Federation boss Luis Rubiales citing ‘ethics’ as the reason behind Lopetegui’s shock dismissal.

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Los Blancos started life after Cristiano Ronaldo and Zidane well under Lopetegui, winning four of their opening five La Liga games as well as a 3-0 win over Roma in the Champions League. However, a goal drought of more than 8 hours (the worst in the club’s history) followed as Los Blancos lost at Sevilla, CSKA Moscow and Alavés.

The surprise defeat to Levante at the Bernabéu meant Lopetegui was all but gone. The Spanish press labelled him as a dead man walking going into the Clásico on Sunday. Lopetegui himself said he would ‘fight’ and insisted he wasn’t ‘going to die’ as Madrid boss in his meetings with the media. After a punishing first half in the Camp Nou, Lopetegui seemed to have found a solution in the form of a tactical switch which gave his side much more impetus after the break.

Luka Modric could’ve brought the visitors level but his shot hit the post. Minutes later and it was 3-1. Despite the fine margins, you always felt Lopetegui was on the edge. Not many Madrid managers would’ve survived a ‘manita’ in the Clásico. Jose Mourinho did, but that was Jose Mourinho. The thumping defeat proved to be the final nail in the coffin as Real Madrid struggle to strive for success after Ronaldo and Zidane.

Real Madrid Castilla boss Santiago Solari, who played for Los Blancos for five years at the start of the century, will take charge of the team on a caretaker basis until a permanent manager can be found.

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