It has been officially confirmed that Julen Lopetegui is no longer the coach of Real Madrid and his temporary replacement will be Santiago Hernan Solari.
The 5-1 defeat at the Camp Nou against Barcelona was the final straw for president Florentino Perez.Solari moves up from the Castilla side, as did Zinedine Zidane did three years ago when replacing Rafa Benitez.
It is a decision that has been taken to pull the club out of a crisis that has rarely been experienced at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.
Florentino didn’t hesitate after giving Lopetegui a week to turn things around.Madrid beat Viktoria Plzen at home but failed miserably in the visit to a club without Messi on Sunday.
The results and performances (four losses and a draw amid a historical scoring drought) have weighed heavily against the confidence in a coach, who was presented at the Bernabeu just over four months ago following his sacking as Spain coach.
Three successive defeats against CSKA, Alaves and Levante undermined the coach’s position, just over a month after he received great praise following the fantastic victory over Roma.
However, the drift has been such that from June to October, Lopetegui has found himself sacked from the two jobs which he likely always dreamed of having.
The coach has also been a victim of the poisoned chalice handed to him at the three-in-a-row European champions, with holes left by the departures of Zidane and, above all, the goals of Cristiano Ronaldo.
The team needed reinforcements but in came a goalkeeper (Thibaut Courtois) and a right-back (Alvaro Odriozola) in positions that were not priorities.
Ronaldo wasn’t replaced by the club and in addition, they let Mateo Kovacic go without bringing in a replacement, despite Lopetegui’s public requests for such.
He asked for a No. 9 and in the end, almost out of panic, they signed Mariano, while Vinicius keeps scoring goals for the Castilla.
Lopetegui has found himself in charge of a squad that is much worse than it has been in previous years but the requirements were the same.
The club also had their doubts in him and in fact, he was not the first option, or even the second or third. Mauricio Pochettino, Massimiliano Allegri, Antonio Conte and even the unknown young German tactician Julian Nagelsmann were contacted before him.
Lopetegui leaves and Solari enters, a man whose career in the dugout has been developed at La Fabrica. He debuted with Cadet B in 2013 and was promoted to the A side a year later and Juvenil B in 2015.In 2016, he took over as Castilla coach and is now the latest emergency solution who Perez has found at home.
Official statement of Real Madrid
The Board of Directors of Real Madrid C. F., meeting today October 29, 2018, have agreed to terminate the contract that linked coach Julen Lopetegui with the club. This decision, adopted from the highest level of responsibility, aims to change the dynamics of the first team, while all the objectives of this season are still achievable.
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 Ballon d’Or, something unprecedented in the history of the club, and the results obtained to date.
The club thanks Julen Lopetegui and his entire technical team for their effort and work and wishes them the best in their professional career.
He will be provisionally replaced by Santiago Solari, who will lead the first team starting tomorrow, Tuesday.