Getty Images

Madrid registers Solari as coach to beat deadline

Leave a comment

MADRID (AP) Real Madrid registered Santiago Solari as its coach on Monday because Spanish league regulations prohibit a club from having an interim coach for more than two weeks.

[READ: Pogba, Martial out of France squad with injuries]

Madrid has not said whether it stopped looking for a full-time replacement for Julen Lopetegui, who was fired on Oct. 29. Solari, a former Madrid player, was appointed as the interim coach but had not been ruled out as a candidate. His chances of staying increased after he led Madrid to four straight victories since replacing Lopetegui.

“What I can say is that we are very happy (with Solari),” said Emilio Butragueno, Madrid’s director of institutional relations. “He arrived at a very particular moment and has been able to achieve some very good results.”

Even prior to the sacking of Lopetegui, Real Madrid appeared ready to bring in former Chelsea and Juventus boss Antonio Conte, but the Italian’s move to Madrid never materialized. In the time span, with it being the middle of the season, Real Madrid had almost no choice but to go forward with Solari at least until the end of this season.

Report: Antonio Conte taking Chelsea to court

Getty Images
1 Comment

Sky Sports are reporting that Antonio Conte is taking Chelsea to court over the rest of his salary.

The Italian coach left Chelsea in July after leading them to the Premier League title and FA Cup in his two seasons in charge at Stamford Bridge.

Per the report, Conte has refused to sit down and talk with Chelsea and he believes he should be paid what he is contractually owed. Other reports suggest Conte is asking Chelsea for $26.3 million, which includes his yearly salary of $14.8 million, plus damages of over $11.5 million.

His lawyers are working on two cases, one with an employment tribunal and the other with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

Conte had one-year remaining on the deal he signed in the summer of 2017 after leading Chelsea to the PL title in his first season in England.

However, things turned sour quickly in his second season in charge and although the Blues won the FA Cup and rallied to finish fifth in the table, he was was replaced by Maurizio Sarri this summer.

It is believed the former Juventus and Italy manager turned down the chance to manage Real Madrid over the past week, with Conte’s representatives now focused on taking the Premier League club to court.

Various reports revealed some of the reasons Chelsea will use to defend not paying Conte his full salary include his spat with Diego Costa, Conte’s failure to turn up to sponsorship events and that he parked in the wrong spot at their training ground among others.

Chelsea wanted an out-of-court settlement between themselves and Conte but he has refused to turn up for talks.

Maybe that is because he’s concerned about where to park his car and whether or not that will be held against him…

Real Madrid officially fires Julen Lopetegui

Getty Images
Leave a comment

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.

Conte, Marotta a good option for Man United?

Getty Images
1 Comment

As dark clouds continue to hang over Manchester United, a report in Italy suggests that former Chelsea boss Antonio Conte and former Juventus CEO Giuseppe Marotta are ready to work together once again.

That’s right, the sound you can hear is a shriek of delighted from United fans everywhere.

With Jose Mourinho guiding United to their worst-ever start to a Premier League season on the pitch, plus Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward lambasted by many for transfer dealings and his managerial appointments since 2013, it appears the Red Devils may need to have a clean sweep at Old Trafford.

Zinedine Zidane has been mentioned as a possible replacement for Mourinho, but that seems a little far-fetched right now.

Per a report from Corriere dello Sport, both Conte and Marotta are ready to work together again and it would make more sense for United to go after them. The duo delivered three-straight Serie A titles at Juve in the past and with Marotta leaving his post at Juventus over the past few days, he and Conte could now head to a club in a package deal.

Manchester United could do a lot worse than signing these two up. Am I right? Yes.

Mourinho is in full self-destruct mode and with Woodward seemingly having plenty to answer for (despite fantastic financial results off the pitch) from a footballing side of things, perhaps he could be switched into a business centric role rather than having any say on managerial appointments and player signings.

We all know Mourinho has been his own worst enemy at United in recent months, but a lot of the issues at the club predated his arrival and Woodward should take plenty of the blame for that.

Marotta’s record at Juve speaks for itself. He oversaw Conte’s appointment of Juve in 2011 and helped him assemble one of the best squads Serie A has seen, as well as doing so with plenty of bargains (Paul Pogba, Arturo Vidal and Andrea Pirlo costing just $13 million combined) along the way.

Having a manager and CEO who truly trust one another and work together (Conte didn’t have that at Chelsea and it seems that Mourinho doesn’t have that at United) is now vitally important in the modern game.

United could do a lot worse than hire Conte and bring Marotta along with him.

Cahill could leave Chelsea in January

Getty Images
Leave a comment

On the outside looking in, Gary Cahill could be forced to leave Chelsea in January to find regular playing time.

[PL Preview: Man United vs. Wolves]

The veteran England centerback has been a key member for the Blues since joining from Bolton midway through the 2011-2012 season, going on to make 189 Premier League appearances for Chelsea in the years since. This season, however, Cahill has yet to appear in a Premier League match, finding him outside of manager Maurizio Sarri‘s plans. In an interview with several English newspapers, Cahill admitted that he may have to leave Stamford Bridge this winter to get back on the field.

“I don’t want to jump the gun, but as things stand at this time, probably, yes,” Cahill said. “I’m not a guy who is willing to accept not playing. It’s all about playing. Your career’s short enough as it is. I’ve got maximum respect for everybody here at the football club, for the fans and all the players. But sometimes you have to make tough decisions to keep your career going forward.”

Cahill has been a bit of an enigma with Chelsea since he joined. He never truly lived up to the billing, being consistent enough to play at John Terry‘s level during their years together. While he did have some brilliant matches, he also had a few blunders over the years that cost Chelsea points.

That being said, in recent years, managers have looked towards other, younger defenders. Antonio Conte at times selected Antonio Rudiger over Cahill in his back three, and this season , Sarri has gone with David Luiz again in center defense. Ultimately, it leaves Cahill with very little chance of getting back on the field, unless there is a serious injury.

Having semi-retired from the England National Team, Cahill needs to find a club that is committed to him playing every week, knowing that he can focus entirely on the success of the team and not have thoughts in the back of his mind on his international chances.