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Santiago Solari put in charge after Real Madrid sack Lopetegui

Real Madrid have sacked their coach Julen Lopetegui after just 139 days in charge, the club confirmed on Monday. And Argentine Santiago Solari will temporarily take up the reins.

Tuesday 30 October, 2018
Temporary coach of Real Madrid CF, former player Santiago Solari (centre) takes training at the Ciudad Real Madrid training facilities in Madrid's suburb of Valdebebas.
Temporary coach of Real Madrid CF, former player Santiago Solari (centre) takes training at the Ciudad Real Madrid training facilities in Madrid's suburb of Valdebebas. Foto:GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP

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Real Madrid have sacked their coach Julen Lopetegui after just 139 days in charge, the club confirmed on Monday, with Argentine club legend Santiago Solari taking up the reins temporarily.

Lopetegui was appointed in June but five defeats in seven games – the last of them a 5-1 thrashing by Barcelona in Sunday's clásico, have convinced Madrid to make a change.

Santiago Solari, the club's B team coach, has been put in temporary charge. The decision was announced following a meeting of Madrid's board of directors on Monday night.

A club statement read: "This decision, adopted from the highest level of responsibility, 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 a great disproportion between the quality of the staff of Real Madrid, which has eight players nominated for the next Golden Ball, something unprecedented in the history of the club, and the results obtained to date."

Solari will lead the first team starting today and is expected to be in charge for the Copa del Rey game against Melilla on Wednesday.

The Argentinecould also remain in post for Saturday's La Liga match at home to Real Valladolid.

In his two seasons with Castilla, Solari oversaw them finishing 11th and eighth in the Spanish third tier.

Lopetegui's time as coach of Real Madrid lasted just 139 days, with his decision to join the club also costing him his job as Spain boss at last summer's World Cup.

Real have managed only one win in their last seven matches, sit ninth in La Liga, and earlier this month went more than eight hours without a goal.

Antonio Conte is the frontrunner to be Lopetegui's permanent successor, although early talks have not gone smoothly, according to reports.

Belgium coach Roberto Martinez and former Madrid midfielder Guti have also been linked with the position.

Five facts about Solari

Zidane teammate at Real 
Santiago Hernan Solari played five seasons at Real (2000-2005) including four alongside Zidane, who arrived in 2001, during the 'Galactico' era. He began the move that resulted in Zidane scoring one of his finest goals, the famous volley against Leverkusen in the 2002 Champions League final. In total, Solari played 167 games and scored 16 goals for the club. 

Also played for Atlético  
Born in Rosario, Argentina, Solari made his name at River Plate, winning the Libertadores Cup in 1996. In 1999 he crossed the Atlantic to join Atlético Madrid. The midfielder tasted the disappointment of being relegated to the second division before Real activated his release clause to sign him in 2000. 

From footballing stock 
Santiago's father, Eduardo Solari, was a professional player in Argentina while his brothers David and Esteban also had a career in football, as did his cousin Augusto. His uncle, Jorge Solari, played in Mexico and was nicknamed "El Indio", which gave Santiago Solari his own nickname of "El Indiesito", the Little Indian. 

Named "sexiest player" of 2002 
In 2002, Solari received another trophy: the sexiest player of the year, which was presented to him by the subscribers of the Spanish channel Canal +. "I thank the people who voted for me, but I'm sure it's rigged," he said. "We'll see if I'm offered another career in the film industry when I leave." 

Coaching career started at Real 
Solari chose to stay in football after the end of his playing career. He coached Real Madrid's junior teams, before taking the reins of Castilla, the club's B team, in the summer of 2016. They finished 11th and eighth in Segunda B, the Spanish third tier, during his two completed seasons in charge. 

- AFP

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