Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Top 3 Candidates to Replace Julen Lopetegui as Real Madrid Manager

Milos Markovic in Editorial, La Liga 8 Oct 2018

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The pressure is slowly reaching a boiling point at Real Madrid who suffered their fourth defeat in last 11 games this weekend at Alaves. A 1-0 slap in the face was another goalless result in what has now become Real Madrid’s longest scoring drought since 1985.

Head coach Julen Lopetegui seems to be unable to turn things around at the moment and is facing great pressure as Los Blancos head into the much-needed international break.

What looked like a no-brained in the summer as Lopetegui jumped at the opportunity to sign for Real Madrid – at the most inopportune moment for the Spanish national side ahead of the World Cup – is shaping into a major disappointment for the experienced tactican.

Having exited Spain’s door as a fired man, Lopetegui went on to replace lauded Zinedine Zidane in a moment of apparent disarray which resulted in team’s biggest star Cristiano Ronaldo leaving for Juventus.

The departure of Real Madrid’s focal point has left Julen Lopetegui without a proper cutting edge and the Spaniard is scratching his head in search for a solution upfront.

Six hours of actual game play without a single goal is more than enough to sound the alarm bells at Santiago Bernabeu despite Marca’s reports that Julen Lopetegui is under no immediate threat. On the other side, the other Madrid-based newspaper – Diario AS – is speculating with new names and is suggesting that the upcoming El Clasico on 28 October at Camp Nou could seal the fate of Julen Lopetegui. Real Madrid are falling behind the Catalans and currently stand at 11/4 betting odds to claim the La Liga title.

Should Lopetegui receive a sack in case of a defeat in Barcelona, Diario AS claims that Real Madrid hierarchy would decide between Antonio Conte and Santiago Solari, the current Castilla boss.

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However, here is our alternative list of candidates:

Arsene Wenger

It was never going to be easy for Arsene Wenger to move on from managing Arsenal for over two decades. The experienced French tactician went below the radar after the summer and it was even speculated he would never come back to the dugout.

The 68-year-old never said he planned to retire and Real Madrid could very well be the spark he needs. Real Madrid could be a fantastic chance for the Frenchman to have a final pop at the competition that eluded him for so long – the Champions League. At the same time, Wenger could be the ideal interim, mid-season solution for Real Madrid as having an experienced name on the helm in the middle of the season would allow them to make timely plans for the next season.

Laurent Blanc

The 52-year-old former Manchester United defender is as good as forgotten. Out of work for over two years now, Blanc was last in charge of Paris Saint-Germain – leading them to three successive Ligue 1 titles, as many Coupe de la Ligue trophies and Trophee des Champions. He also guided PSG to back to back Coupe de France titles in 2014/15 and 2015/16 before leaving the club.

Blanc is the man who never quite got the recognition he deserved in Paris, however, and could relish a chance to prove his worth at an even more pronounced scale – at Real Madrid.

Antonio Conte

The temperamental Italian made his name with Juventus, guiding them to three Serie A titles on the trot, along with two Supercoppa Italiana trophies. Known – or better said notorious – for his vicious training methods and a soldier-like approach, Antonio Conte is a no-nonsense man Real Madrid might just need at the moment.

His managerial stock hit the roof in 2016/17 when he oversaw an incredible Premier League title run with Chelsea and is still holding strong despite him failing to replicate the success a year later. Chelsea did end up winning the FA Cup in the 2017/18 season but this year will mostly be remembered with Antonio Conte’s fallout with club hierarchy and some of his Chelsea players.

Who do you think would be the best choice to replace Julen Lopetegui at Real Madrid?


Milos Markovic

Formerly a Chief Editor at the largest sports site in Serbia Sportske.net, Milos Markovic is an avid football writer who contributes to a variety of online football magazines - most prominently Soccernews.com and Futbolgrad.com. His feature articles, editorials, interviews and match analyses have provided informed opinion and views, helping the football aficionados keep up to date on relevant events in world football.



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