Real Madrid chief executive Florentino Perez is not known for his patience with those who struggle at the helm of his club. He tried to hold out as long as he could as Julen Lopetegui looked for a way through the recent darkness, but a dismantling at the hands of a bitter rival forced his hand.
Following a 5-1 defeat to Barcelona in El Clasico over the weekend, Real Madrid finally pulled the trigger and officially sacked manager Julen Lopetegui on Monday after weeks of speculation as the club has fallen further and further into La Liga obscurity. On the heels of three consecutive Champions League titles, Madrid sits in ninth in the La Liga table, with just a single win over its last seven matches across all competitions – a 2-1 victory over Czech club Viktoria Plzen. Madrid suffered through a near-club-record goal drought of over 450 minutes during that span.
The Spanish giants issued a scathing statement to confirm his departure. “The Board of Directors understands that there is a great disproportion between the quality of the staff of Real Madrid – which has 8 players nominated for the next Golden Ball, something unprecedented in the history of the club – and the results obtained to date.”
Taking over on an interim basis is reserve team manager Santiago Solari. Multiple reports across Europe have claimed that the club is targeting Antonio Conte to take over on a permanent basis, as the former Chelsea man has been without a job since departing the Blues this summer.
Lopetegui’s departure is an expensive one for Madrid. Reports state his contract is worth a whopping $20.5 million, a sum the club will have to pay out to honor his deal.