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Real Madrid sacked coach Julen Lopetegui three months into his first season in charge after the Spanish giants were beaten by arch-rivals Barcelona over the weekend, the European champions said on Monday.
Real have failed to win in the league since beating Espanyol on Sept. 22, losing to Sevilla, Alaves, Levante and drawing with Atletico Madrid before Sunday’s 5-1 thrashing by Barcelona.
Former Chelsea, Italy and Juventus boss Antonio Conte is the favourite to succeed Lopetegui, who has now lost two jobs in the space of under five months.
Lopetegui was fired by the Spanish Football Federation as coach of the national team the day before the World Cup started in June for announcing his move to Real behind the organisation’s back, throwing Spain’s tournament preparations into chaos.
The 52-year-old replaced Zinedine Zidane as Real coach after the Frenchman decided to step down from the role having guided the club to three successive Champions League titles in May.
After the club’s all-time top scorer Cristiano Ronaldo also departed for Juventus in July, Lopetegui’s stint at Real got off to a difficult start as they were beaten 4-2 by city rivals Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup.
His side then won four of their opening five La Liga games and earned a slick 3-0 win over AS Roma in their Champions League opener.
But things started to fall apart when they were thrashed 3-0 by Sevilla last month, a result that started a run of four defeats in five matches in all competitions. During that stint, they also failed to score a goal for eight hours.
Last Tuesday’s 2-1 win over Viktoria Plzen in the Champions League provided a brief respite but the team were still booed off the pitch after an unconvincing display.
Sunday’s 5-1 hammering proved to be the final straw for Real president Florentino Perez.