Julen Lopetegui sacked as Real Madrid manager

Real Madrid have sacked manager Julen Lopetegui after their El Clasico defeat by Barcelona.

The Spanish giants sit ninth in La Liga following their sixth league game without a win and their third successive defeat.

Barcelona ran out 5-1 winners thanks to a hat-trick from Luis Suarez and goals from Phillipe Coutinho and Arturo Vidal on Sunday afternoon.

Santiago Solari has been placed in interim charge after Antonio Conte reportedly ended talks over taking the role.

Lopetegui moved to Real in the summer after quitting Spain days before their World Cup campaign.

But he has paid the price for a disastrous start to the season.

Solari will only have three days to prepare for their Copa del Rey clash at Melilla before hosting Valladolid next Saturday.

A club statement read: "The Board of Directors of Real Madrid CF, meeting today October 29, 2018, has agreed to terminate the contract of coach Julen Lopetegui.

"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 8 players nominated for the next Golden Ball, something unprecedented in the history of the club, and the results obtained to date.

"The club thanks Julen Lopetegui and all his technical team for their effort and work and wishes them the best in their professional career.

"He will be provisionally replaced by Santiago Solari, who will lead the first team starting on Tuesday."

Before Sunday’s clash, Lopetegui had insisted he was not concerned about his future.

"We have a game that is sufficiently attractive without having to think about these types of stories, which don’t help me to prepare for the game," he said.

"I’m focused on my work as a coach which is trying to help the team improve. What the press say doesn’t help me to win or improve my team, we’re trying to prepare for a game which will be very demanding for us."

Coutinho gave Barcelona an early lead in El Clasico.

Jordi Alba was allowed time and space on the left-hand side of Madrid’s penalty area and pulled the ball back into an ideal position for Coutinho to simply side-foot the ball into the net from 10 yards.

Barcelona almost doubled their lead on 18 minutes when Sergio Ramos was guilty of giving the ball away in a dangerous area and Arthur’s fierce shot drew an excellent save from Thibaut Courtois.

And the home fans did not have to wait long before their side made it 2-0 from the penalty spot, although it took the use of the VAR before the referee pointed to the spot after initially waving away claims that Luis Suarez had been brought down by Raphael Varane.

Suarez, who had nipped in front of Varane to collect Alba’s pass before pushed to the ground, took the penalty himself and found the bottom corner.

The Uruguayan completed his hat-trick by pouncing on a Sergio Ramos error to slot in before Vidal added gloss late on.

Will Jose Mourinho return to Real Madrid?


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