In Brief

Real Madrid next manager odds: Solari, Conte and Pochettino early favourites

Julen Lopetegui is sacked after the 5-1 El Clasico thrashing by Barcelona

Real Madrid are looking for a new head coach after Julen Lopetegui was sacked following Sunday’s 5-1 humiliation by Barcelona at the Camp Nou.

A poor start to the La Liga season meant Lopetegui’s future was already in doubt, but the El Clasico thrashing has seen the 52-year-old’s reign as Real boss end after only four months. 

Lopetegui lasted just 14 matches at the Santiago Bernabeu, recording six wins, two draws and six defeats. It is the second time this year he has been fired after his departure from the Spanish national side just days before the start of the World Cup in Russia. 

With 14 points from ten games Real are ninth in La Liga and are second in Champions League group G, level on six points with leaders AS Roma. Real travel to Melilla tomorrow night in the Copa del Rey then face Valladolid at home in the league on Saturday.

Solari steps up

In a statement published on the club’s website Real announced the termination of Lopetegui’s contract and that Santiago Solari has been placed in temporary charge of the first team. Solari is currently manager of the club’s B team Castilla, The Guardian reports, and is liked by Real president Florentino Perez.

“The Real Madrid C.F. board of directors has made the decision to terminate Julen Lopetegui’s contract as the club’s coach,” said the statement. “This decision, which was taken with the utmost responsibility, seeks to bring about a turnaround in the first-team’s fortunes at a time when all of this season’s targets are still achievable.

“The board considers there to be a large disparity between the quality within the Real Madrid squad, which boasts eight nominees for the next Ballon d’Or award - an unprecedented number in the club’s history - and the team’s results to date.

“The club places on record its thanks to Julen Lopetegui and all of his coaching staff for their efforts and work and wishes them all the best in their future careers.”

Two weeks to prove himself

Interim boss Solari is the bookies’ favourite to take over full-time at the Bernabeu and Spanish newspaper Marca reports that if results go well he could land the job permanently. 

Solari has two weeks to prove he is the man for the job. Marca writer Jose Felix Diaz said: “It’s known that the first-team believe that he understands the philosophy of the club, something ingrained in him since the day he first signed as a player and years later as coach of the academy.

“Now there is a period of two weeks and four games in which the Argentine can show his ability and skills as a coach. If he passes the exam, Solari will no longer be the interim solution, and that will be the moment for him to be presented as all Real Madrid coaches deserve.”

Early candidates

Sky in Italy reports that Solari is Real Madrid’s preferred choice to replace Lopetegui, but other names in the frame include Antonio Conte, Mauricio Pochettino and Arsene Wenger.

Former Chelsea boss Conte was regarded as the front-runner for the Real Madrid job but AS says that the Italian could be out of the running. Marca adds that Conte’s requests have “slowed down his arrival” in the Spanish capital. Conte is playing “hardball” says the BBC and reportedly wants a long-term contract plus the signings of a new striker and central defender.  

Another early favourite linked with the Real position is Tottenham manager Pochettino. With stadium delays and a lack of transfer activity this summer, Spurs boss Pochettino said before last night’s loss against Manchester City that “this season my feeling is the worst”.

Following the comments, Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville said: “I think Tottenham, if Real Madrid want him, will have a real problem in the next few days. I don’t think they do, we are just putting two and two together, but we spoke about the timing of his comments, and is the timing because a job has become available?”

Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho and Belgium head coach Roberto Martinez are also mentioned as possible candidates.

Real Madrid next manager betting odds

Latest prices according to Sky Bet (as of 30 October): 

  • Santiago Solari: 8/15 
  • Antonio Conte: 3/1 
  • Mauricio Pochettino: 4/1 
  • Arsene Wenger: 8/1 
  • Roberto Martinez: 16/1 
  • Guti: 25/1 
  • Jose Mourinho: 28/1 
  • Albert Celades: 33/1 
  • Fernando Hierro: 33/1 
  • Joachim Low: 33/1 
  • Laurent Blanc: 33/1 
  • Rafa Benitez: 33/1 
  • Carlo Ancelotti: 40/1 
  • Didier Deschamps: 40/1 
  • Jurgen Klopp: 40/1

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