Santiago Solari

Real Madrid has appointed Santiago Solari as their permanent head coach. He took over as the interim-manager of Real Madrid after Julen Lopetegui was sacked following the humiliating defeat against Barcelona. However, he got the position as the permanent head coach of the club after giving impressive results.

As interim manager, Solari won four consecutive matches for Real Madrid. Though the fixtures were relatively easy, Real’s emphatic victories were sufficient to prove the improvement of the team under him. Los Blancos scored six goals against Melilla and Valladolid without conceding any. While they crushed Viktoria Plzen by 5-0 in the Champions League match. Overall, Real Madrid scored 15 goals and conceded only 2 in the 4 matches played under Solari.

While Lopetegui’s reign saw Real Madrid suffering their worst start to a league campaign since 2001. They lost three consecutive matches against CSKA Moscow, Alaves and Levante under the Spanish manager. Then the 5-1 thrashing by Barcelona proved to be the end game of Lopetegui at the Bernabeu.

After Lopetegui was sacked, Antonio Conte was thought as the strong candidate for the Madrid job. However, Conte’s confrontational approach would not have been a good fit to the Real Madrid’s dressing room. This was evident from the statement of Sergio Ramos when he was asked about the Italian manager’s approach. The Real Madrid captain said,

“Respect is earned, not imposed. There are Coaches with whom we’ve won titles. A Coach’s ability to manage the dressing room is more important than their knowledge.”

While Solari’s easy temper would be a good match for the big egos of Real Madrid’s dressing room. Also, the Argentine proved his coaching abilities by successfully leading Los Blancos to four straight victories. That’s why Real Madrid handed him a contract until June 2021.

For the Bernabeu club, he played as a midfielder from 2000 to 2005. He then returned in 2013 for coaching Madrid’s youth teams and later made it to the reserve team in 2016. Though Solari could not make a big difference in terms of Castilla’s position in the Segunda Division B, still he improved many players like Achraf Hakimi, Mario Hermoso and Oscar who played under him.

It is expected that Solari would do well at the Bernabeu like his team-mate Zinedine Zidane who also coached the reserve team before taking responsibilities of the first team. Real Madrid is already back to within 4 points of Barcelona.