Santiago Solari’s task is to do no further damage to reeling Real Madrid.
The interim manager takes the reins from Julen Lopetegui after Real was blasted 5-1 by Barcelona at the Camp Nou on Sunday.
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“I can see they want to turn it around,” Solari said of his players.
The 42-year-old Argentine is the manager of Real Madrid Castilla, and played NCAA Division III soccer for a year at Stockton College before joining Newell’s Old Boys Academy en route to a playing career with Real, Inter Milan, Atletico Madrid, River Plate, San Lorenzo, Atlante, and Penarol.
“I’ve been with the team today and they don’t look at anyone negatively. They’re hurt and want to get back to winning. This is a team of champions and warriors, who have fought hard for the club and have given a lot. These are different times and in delicate moments it’s when the character comes to the front.”
Real is ninth on La Liga’s table, seven points back of leaders Barcelona. The club is tied for the lead in Group G of the Champions League, and next travels to last place Viktoria Plzen.
Solari was, believe it or not, just All-Region Second Team at Stockton in 1994, where he was also NJCA Rookie of the Year, and posted the then-second highest assist total in school history (behind a teammate) with 15.