Nov 22, 2018
Sunday afternoons drubbing at the hands of bitter rivals FC Barcelona spelled the end for Julen Lopetegui’s disastrous reign as Real Madrid boss.
The 5-1 reverse at Camp Nou was Madrid’s fourth straight La Liga loss and the result has left them languishing in ninth position.
For Lopetegui, the last few months haven’t been favourable to the former Los Blancos goalkeeper after he was sacked as Spain’s manager after their early exit to Russia in the World Cup this summer.
The decision to install him as Zinedine Zidane’s successor was perhaps a knee-jerk reaction, a move which has ultimately failed to pay dividends but Real president Florentino Perez should cast his eye over Antonio Conte.
The Italian was given his P45 from Premier League side Chelsea at the end of last season and is currently without a club, which makes it more tempting for the Spanish giants to make a swoop for Conte’s services. The Italian wasn’t able to lead his Chelsea team to a second consecutive league title, primarily due to the record-breaking Manchester City team who reached 100 points.
Although his second season wasn’t successful, he did cruse to a Premier League title in his first season.
The former Juventus man certainly has the experience and winning mentality that is desired at the Bernabeu but Perez will have to question why Conte fell out with so many players at Chelsea.
According to some bookies, Conte is priced at a juicy 14/1 to become Madrid’s next permanent manager, which does leave much to be desired about how Conte could pick up the reigns and restore Real to their former glories.
Conte does come with his faults as such, which Los Blancos will be more than aware of but after such a fall from grace, the Italian maverick could just be the type of character that needs to be installed into the dressing room to boost morale.
Currently, it appears that there is a lot of player unrest with the likes of Sergio Ramos, Isco and Marcelo are all rumoured to have either been influential in Lopetegui’s sacking or will have a big say in who the new manager is.
The likes of Mauricio Pochettino and Santiago Solari have all been linked to the vacant hotseat and although the former would be ideally placed to take over, a compensation deal would have to be structed with Pochettino’s current employers, Tottenham Hotspur. Something of which can and most likely will be an arduous, tedious task in itself.
Solari has been given the interim position for now but his lack of experience may come as a hinderance to his chances but at the same time, it’s fresh blood that Madrid could mould and shape into how they envisage a manager to be so he certainly has a good chance.
With that in mind, it’ll be intriguing to see how Solari handles the ego’s and reputations that are rich throughout the majority of the Madrid squad and it’s that alone that should make Conte best suited for the role.
Even after winning three successive European Cups, including May’s showpiece against Liverpool, it just goes to show how the loss of Zidane and Cristiano Ronaldo has had a ripple effect throughout the whole club which unfortunately, Lopetegui was unable to stabilise.
Step forward Mr Conte. A livewire with a strong work ethic, passion in abundance and a sheer determination to win and succeed. Although it might raise a few eyebrows if he was appointed, there’s not many other contenders who would quite literally welcome the poisoned challis that is the position as Real Madrid’s manager.