Real Madrid have sacked Julen Lopetegui as manager after just four and a half months in charge at the Bernabeu.
Madrid blew up Spain’s World Cup dreams to hire the the Spaniard to succeeded Zinedine Zidane in June but the crushing 5-1 loss to Barcelona in El Clasico on Sunday was their fifth loss in six games.
Real, Champions League winners for the past three years, are ninth in La Liga after their worst start since 2001-02.
The 52-year-old will be “provisionally replaced” by ex-player Santiago Solari, coach of B team Castilla.
Lopetegui took a training session on Monday but his fate was confirmed following a board meeting.
A club statement said:
The 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.
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.
Solari has a favourable run of fixtures for the start of his tenure, beginning with a Spanish Cup match against Segunda Division B Group 4 side Melilla on Wednesday.
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.