Madrid: The time isn’t going well for Real Madrid coach Julen Lopetegui after Spanish media reported Monday that the 52-year-old amanger is on line to be sacked after their 1-5 humiliation by arch-rivals Barcelona. Former Chelsea manager Antonio Conte is set to replace him.
Lopetegui’s record of four wins, two draws and four defeats has left Real languishing ninth in the La Liga standings, seven points behind leaders Barca. His decision to leave the Spain job just a day before the World Cup in Russia seems to have backfired. Incidentally this was the worst start by any Real coach in 70 years.
Lopetegui’s situation has drawn sympathy from the media, with sports daily Marca’s front page reading ‘It is not only Julen’s fault’.
AS editor Alfredo Relano criticised the club for failing to replace ‘the 50 goals a season that Madrid are currently missing in the form of Cristiano Ronaldo’. Following a summer of courting Mauricio Pochettino of Tottenham Hotspur, media reported that Perez has shifted his attention to Conte, who was still employed by Chelsea when Lopetegui was appointed in June.
The Italian, who won the Premier League in his first season with Chelsea after winning three successive Serie A titles with Juventus, was fired by the London club in July.
Reserve team coach Santiago Solari is likely to take charge of the team for the midweek Copa del Rey meeting with Melilla, with Conte taking charge for Saturday’s home La Liga game against Valladolid, Spanish media reported.