3 Managers Real Madrid could turn to after Julen Lopetegui
In June, Real Madrid announced that they had installed Julen Lopetegui at the helm to replace Zinedine Zidane. However, the timing of the announcement (2 days before the World Cup) led to Lopetegui’s ouster as the Spanish national team manager.
With just one decision, Florentino Perez had contrived to set up Spain’s World Cup for disaster while also sowing the seeds for a dismal quarter of Real Madrid’s season.
At Real Madrid, Lopetegui won only a handful of games and tasted defeat six times. However, it was him apparently ‘losing the dressing room’ which proved to be the last straw.
When the Spaniard was appointed, he was heralded as a shrewd acquisition. The footballing world believed that a manager who accorded utmost importance to a systematic and possession-based style of play was the need of the hour at the Bernabeu.
Many went as far as saying that he could be the harbinger of a new and exciting era, which would lay emphasis on developing young stars rather than buying proven stalwarts on the market.
However, four and a half months and a 5-1 Clasico thrashing later, Lopetegui finds himself out of the Bernabeu’s revolving managerial door. With Real Madrid in absolute turmoil, the incoming manager would have his task cut out trying to salvage the Los Blancos’ season.
Through this article, we would look at three options the Real Madrid hierarchy could look to in these times of strife.
3. Antonio Conte
The Italian has been unemployed ever since his acrimonious dismissal at Chelsea. Despite winning the Premier League and the FA Cup in his two years in charge, his hard-headed approach led to him making more enemies in the dressing room than he would’ve liked.
With Madrid in shambles, Conte could represent a good short-term option who can steady the ship and make them compete for top honours. His time with Juventus and Chelsea proves that he has what it takes to succeed at the highest level. However, handling a club of the stature of Real Madrid is a different kettle of fish altogether.
At Real Madrid, Conte is bound to clash with numerous huge egos. There are usually only two outcomes possible when a hard taskmaster manager clashes with players with huge egos: either the team starts functioning to optimum capacity or the team starts falling apart before the manager can say ‘hello’. As for the Real Madrid faithful, they would hope it is a case of the former.
Though Conte would be the most extraordinary of choices, the storm clouds engulfing the Bernabeu have called for extraordinary measures to be put in place.
The appointment of Conte would be a huge risk in itself but Florentino Perez certainly isn’t averse to taking a risk or two. If it comes to fruition, an intriguing road to redemption lies ahead for Antonio Conte.