Julen Lopetegui has been sacked as Real Madrid manager after just 14 matches that culminated in Sunday’s 5-1 loss to Barcelona in el Clasico at the Nou Camp.
Former Real player and current coach of the Castilla Santiago Solari will “provisionally” be in charge of the first team until a successor is named, the club confirmed in a statement Monday night.
The Spaniard succeeded Zinedine Zidane in June and took a training session on Monday but his fate was confirmed following a board meeting.
Real, Champions League winners for the past three years, are ninth in La Liga after their worst start since 2001-02.
“Real Madrid C.F. board of directors, which met today, 29 October 2018, has made the decision to terminate Julen Lopetegui’s contract as the club’s coach,” a club statement read.
“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.
Santiago Solari will take temporary charge of the team, assuming his role as first-team coach from tomorrow, Tuesday”.
Real then play Valladolid – sixth in La Liga – on Saturday, Group G’s bottom side Viktoria Plzen in the Champions League on 7 November, and the mid-table Celta Vigo the following Sunday.
It is the second time Lopetegui has been sacked this year having been dismissed by Spain two days before the World Cup.
That sacking came after it emerged the Spanish football federation was unaware he was in talks to take the Real job after the tournament.
Real have 14 out of a possible 30 points in the league this season and have taken only one from their past five matches – their worst run since they went pointless in the final five games of 2008-09 under Juande Ramos.
They are now six points above the Spanish top flight’s relegation places, and seven behind leaders Barcelona.