Real Madrid sack head coach Julen Lopetegui after 14 matches in-charge

Real Madrid have sacked head coach Julen Lopetegui after just 14 matches in charge, following a 5-1 defeat against Barcelona on Sunday.

Santiago Solari, who is reportedly Real Madrid's preferred candidate to replace Lopetegui permanently, has been placed in temporary charge.

Real have failed to win in the league since beating Espanyol on September 22, losing to Sevilla, Alaves, Levante and drawing with Atletico Madrid, before Sunday's 5-1 thrashing by Barcelona at the Nou Camp.

Lopetegui, 52, has now lost two jobs in the space of less than five months.

He was fired as coach of the Spain national team the day before the World Cup started in June, due to having planned his move to Real without informing the Spanish Football Federation.

Announcing his sacking on Monday night, Real Madrid said: "This decision aims to change the dynamics of the first team, when all the objectives of this season are still achievable.

"The Board of Directors understands that there is great disproportion between the quality of the staff of Real Madrid and the results obtained to date.

"The club thanks Julen Lopetegui and all his technical team for their effort and work and wishes them the best in their professional career."

Lopetegui arrived at the Santiago Bernabeu in the summer but his tenure has lasted only 14 matches.

The former Porto boss took over from Zinedine Zidane, who stepped down following a record third consecutive Champions League title.

But Lopetegui struggled to live up to the high expectations at Real Madrid, his period in charge including the longest goal-drought in the club's history.

Interim coach Solari, aged 42, is a former Argentina midfielder who played for Real Madrid in the early 2000s and helped the team win the 2002 Champions League. He also played for Atletico Madrid and Inter Milan.

He had been coaching Real Madrid B since 2016, taking over not long after Zidane left to coach the main squad.

Along with Solari, former Chelsea manager Antonio Conte is understood to be a contender for the role.

The Italian was sacked as Chelsea manager in July after two years in charge at Stamford Bridge, during which he won the Premier League in his first season.

Real are next in action against third-tier side Melilla in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday before they return to the league with a visit from in-form Real Valladolid.


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