Madrid: Julen Lopetegui was on Monday relieved of his duties as the manager of Real Madrid following a dismal run of form in all competitions under his charge, culminating in the 1-5 drubbing at the hands of arch-rivals Barcelona on Sunday.
The Spaniard replaced Madrid legend and three-time Champions League winning manager Zinedine Zidane in July earlier this year, however, the announcement cost him his job as the Spain manager two days before the World Cup Finals. Santiago Scolari, Madrid’s reserve team manager has been currently instated as Lopetegui’s replacement on an interim basis, Goal reported. Italian manager Antonio Conte is a favourite to take over the position on a permanent basis, however, the release clause in his Chelsea contract has so far proved to be a hurdle.
Lopetegui’s term at the helm of Santiago Bernebeau started with a 2-4 loss to Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Supercup in August. However, the former Rayo Vallecano and Porto manager made a enjoyed a decent start to life in the La Liga, winning the four of the first five games.
However, the club’s 3-0 reverse in Seville kick-started a miserable month for Lopetegui as Madrid managed to register a victory in just one of the next seven games. Los Blancos have also struggled in front of goal in this period, scoring a mere four goals in seven games, highlighting concerns that surfaced since the summer departure of all-time top scorer Cristiano Ronaldo.
Lopetegui has been under immense pressure in the past few weeks, and with the club sitting in ninth position in the La Liga table after a return of 14 points from ten games, the Madrid hierarchy has finally lost faith in the 52-year-old for reversing their fortunes. Madrid will face Melilla on Wednesday in the Copa del Rey, following which they will host Real Valladolid in the La Liga.