Antonio Conte, Laurent Blanc and B-team boss Santiago Solari among top five contenders to replace Julen Lopetegui at Real Madrid… but could Jose Mourinho make a surprise return?
- Julen Lopetegui is under intense pressure following weekend loss to Levante
- Real Madrid have failed to win any of their last five matches, losing four of them
- Lopetegui took over in the summer but is falling short of Real’s high standards
- Santiago Solari and Guti are potential replacements steeped in the club
- Antonio Conte, Laurent Blanc and Michael Laudrup are potential options
- Jose Mourinho and Roberto Martinez are long-shot candidates for the position
With Real Madrid scanning the market for a replacement for Julen Lopetegui should they decide to sack him, Sportsmail looks at the options for the club’s fifth coach in five years.
Lopetegui has failed to win in five games and there are no shortage of options for club president Florentino Perez.
Pressure is mounting on Real Madrid coach Julen Lopetegui following a run of bad results
Michael Laudrup would be a throwback to Zinedine Zidane. He has all the charm of the Frenchman and supporters would embrace the idea of the team playing the brand of fantasy football he made his trademark as a player.
On the minus side he has been around the managerial block with limited success outside of Denmark.
That might not bother Perez if the recruitment of another elegant, sharp-suited great from the club’s past running the team captures the imagination of the supporters and stops them turning on the president.
Laudrup appears to want the job and it would be a straightforward option because he is a free agent.
Michael Laudrup would be similar to Zinedine Zidane in terms of his attacking philosophy
Laurent Blanc has admirers at Real Madrid because he has experience of big management jobs with France and Paris Saint-Germain.
The players would respect him and the board would be confident about keeping him on-message. He would also be quick to hire and potentially straightforward to fire if the experiment goes wrong and they need to change at the end of the season.
His experience of handling huge names is his greatest selling point.
Laurent Blanc has experience of handling big names in the dressing room from his time at PSG
Santiago Solari does not have that in his favour but he is the easiest choice because he would not be moving clubs or cities, he would just be moving offices.
He is the B-team coach and he currently has Real Madrid Castilla lying second in one of Spain’s regional third divisions and is building up a relationship with Vinicius, the Brazilian 19-year-old who club president Perez wants to see getting more first-team football.
He is popular with the president but there are several factors that go against him.
Castilla may be riding high this season but they finished 11th and 8th in the two previous campaigns.
And the players are not convinced he is ready to make the step up. He would be a temporary option while they looked for a permanent replacement.
Santiago Solari is the current manager of Real Madrid Castilla but a short-term option
Antonio Conte was considered for the job in the summer but the dressing room preferred Julen Lopetegui and, having just won their third straight Champions League, they had earned they right to have their say.
After no wins in five they might not have the same say this time. Conte’s reputation for discipline would be welcomed by a board who tend to swing from ‘firm hand’ to ‘long leash’ whenever they change coaches – tough guy Mourinho to nice guy Ancelotti to tough guy Benitez and so on.
Conte will not be putty in the hands of directors but they accepted that from Fabio Capello and from Mourinho so it wouldn’t necessarily be a problem. He’s also free to start the job.
Antonio Conte has been out of a job since leaving Chelsea back in the summer
An immensely talented but ultimately inconsistent and underachieving midfielder in his day, Guti turned into an unexpected coaching success with Real Madrid’s youth team before leaving to become assistant manager at Besiktas.
He is another who would potentially be blocked by a dressing room wanting a more experienced boss.
Guti is another former player who could take over the main job at the Bernabeu
BEST OF THE REST
The ‘best of the rest’ list is topped by Roberto Martinez. He did his reputation no harm at the World Cup and would fit with a summer push for Eden Hazard.
Jose Mourinho is still a huge favourite of Perez but he is not the favourite for the job because he is currently employed.
Former Real manager Jose Mourinho remains a personal favourite of president Perez
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