Julen Lopetegui has been sacked by Real Madrid tonight after only four months in charge.
The news came after Real Madrid lost 5-1 in the Clasico in Barcelona leaving them in 9thplace in La Liga, closer to the relegation zone then their rivals Barcelona at the summit.
The favourite to replace him is former Chelsea boss Antonio Conte.
On the 13thof June 2018 Spain were preparing to start their World Cup campaign with Spanish manager at the time Lopetegui. They were 48 hours away from their opening game of the group vs Portugal when news broke that Real Madrid and Lopetegui had agreed a deal for him to succeed Zinedine Zidane as the new manager of thirteen-time champions of Europe Real Madrid; a job many couldn’t turn down. However, the timing was questionable.
Many people said that Real Madrid shouldn’t have approached him during a world cup. They also added how Lopetegui shouldn’t have taken the job without talking to the Spanish federation. This started rumours that he would be sacked just two days before Spain started their world cup campaign.
The Spanish Federation president took action and sacked Julen Lopetegui and released a statement saying: “You can’t do things this way, two or three days before the World Cup. We have been compelled to make this decision.”
We all know what happened next with Spain getting knocked out in the last sixteen against Russia without impressing at all.
So Lopetegui gets his dream job but the problems started before even kicking a ball.
Cristiano Ronaldo arguably one of Madrid’s best ever players decided he wanted to leave. A massive problem for Madrid and Lopetegui if they lost their main man. How can you replace a player of that calibre?
Ronaldo then joins Juventus and Real Madrid don’t replace him.
Real Madrid then lose the super cup to rivals Atletico. Not a good start. Madrid looked very poor in the game and tired. Most likely a world cup hangover, so not too many questions were asked.
However Real Madrid start the season well winning five of their first six games, looking impressive in all their games with pundits and football experts even questioning if they were playing better than before the Ronaldo and Zidane era. Lopetegui had his dream start and made it look like the right decision to take the job.
Then a 3-0 loss away at Sevilla. Followed by a bore draw in the Madrid derby, then a shock 1-0 defeat away in the champions league at CSKA Moscow. Making matters worse they then lose 1-0 away at Alavés meaning Madrid went four games without winning and scoring. Questions were being asked about this new style of football they were playing and if it was right for the players they had. Madrid then humiliated themselves by losing at home 2-1 to Levante, a result that would never happen normally.
At this stage many predicted Lopetegui would be sacked and Madrid were just waiting to bring in a replacement. People were also suggesting he would have till the Clasico to turn it around.
Madrid then scrape past FC Viktoria Plzen 2-1 at home in the champions league; a less than impressive performance but a much needed three points.
Then the biggest game arrived. The Clasico. Barcelona away. His biggest test so far as manager of ‘los blancos’. Victory would be his only option to keep arguably the biggest job in football management. However, defeat would seal his fate and end his short time as Real Madrid manger. A 5-1 humiliation with Luis Suarez scoring a hattrick.
Lopetegui left speechless on the touchline after watching his team get out passed, out run and out of their depth. Where had this team who had won three champions leagues on the trot gone?
Predictions were he would lose his job straight after the game but he had to wait twenty-four hours before Real Madrid released the statement saying that Lopetegui had been sacked.
Where does Lopetegiu go from here? He won’t be top of many Spanish league clubs after his actions over the last four months.
Real Madrid will move on quickly as they always do and hope whoever takes charge can turn this team around and get the results they desperately need, or their season could be over before it has really started.