It was hard to see how Julen Lopetegui could save his job after Real Madrid suffered a 5-1 thrashing against Barcelona at Camp Nou. His side was already suffering in the league with no victory for them after the Espanyol game but the amazing hat-trick by Luis Suarez for an emphatic Barcelona victory made sure that Lopetegui could not retain his position at Real Madrid. And a day after the match on Sunday, the dismissal of Julen Lopetegui was officially announced by Real Madrid. The statement of the club official website read:
“Real Madrid’s board met today on 29 Oct 2018 and has agreed to end the contract linking coach Julen Lopetegui with the club. This decision has been taken to change the dynamic in which the first team finds itself, when all the objectives for the season are still achievable.”
Lopetegui who had the experience of managing Spain’s youth teams and the club Porto became the manager of the Spain national team in 2016 after Vicente del Bosque retired. However, he was removed from the job by the Spanish federation president Luis Rubiales just two days before Spain’s opening World Cup game for agreeing to join Real Madrid after the mega event.
He replaced Zinedine Zidane as Madrid’s head coach when the French manager stepped down after winning 3 consecutive UEFA Champions League titles. Cristiano Ronaldo had left for Juventus during Lopetegui’s reign, but the squad was still full of star players like Bale, Ramos, and Benzema etc. Even then Real Madrid under Lopetegui suffered their worst start since 2001-02 coming to the ninth position in the league and having a difference of seven points with the league leaders Barcelona.
Lopetegui lost his first competitive game against Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup by 4-2. However, his team began well in LaLiga by winning their three opening matches. But after the victory against Espanyol, Real Madrid lost four of their five matches. And in the Clasico match at Camp Nou, Los Blancos were completely destroyed by Barcelona. Under Lopetigui, Real Madrid only managed to win six matches out of fourteen while they lost six matches and drew two as well.
Real Madrid’s B team manager Santiago Solari will now take charge as the club’s interim manager. He might be happy to see a favorable run of fixtures for the start of his tenure because Real Madrid’s next matches are against Melilla, Valladolid, Viktoria Plzen, and Celta Vigo.