Soccer

Real Madrid sack Julen Lopetegui with Santiago Solari announced as replacement

Real Madrid have fired coach Julen Lopetegui after the club’s humiliating 5-1 defeat at Barcelona saw them slump to ninth in La Liga.

Lopetegui took over in July in hugely controversial circumstances, a day before Spain’s World Cup campaign got underway against Portugal. He was fired by Spanish FA president Luis Rubiales and immediately took over at the Bernabeu.

After a run of poor form that Lopetegui couldn’t turn around, which saw Madrid slide down the table, Florentino Perez took the decision to dispense with his new hire after less than four months at the helm. 

Santiago Solari, a former winger for the club and currently the B team coach, will step in as interim head coach as the club considers its long-term options.

Antonio Conte had been the strong favourite to take over and was deep in talks with the hierarchy at the Bernabeu but Italian media reported on Monday afternoon that the agreement for him to take over was ‘broken’ amid concerns some players weren’t backing his appointment. 

Madrid play Melilla in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday night but would be expected to take a second-string XI to the small African enclave ahead of the weekend’s La Liga clash with Valladolid.

Madrid desperately need to find a win after five league games without victory – a run in which they’ve scored just twice. 

More news will follow on this breaking story….

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