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'I didn't sleep, I didn't know where I was': Julen Lopetegui opens up about torrid Real Madrid stint

Modified 20 Dec 2019, 21:33 IST

FC Barcelona v Real Madrid CF - LaLiga
FC Barcelona v Real Madrid CF - LaLiga

What's the story?

Former Spain and Real Madrid manager Julen Lopetegui has opened up about his disastrous stint as manager at the Santiago Bernabeu last summer, stating that the transition from his role in the national team to suddenly taking charge of Los Blancos was all too fast.

In case you didn't know...

Lopetegui was sacked from his position in the Spain national team just before the FIFA World Cup, after it was announced that he would be taking charge of Real Madrid soon after the tournament.

His LaLiga season began with a derby defeat to Atletico Madrid in the European Super Cup but this was soon followed by a series of wins. However, a number of dismal performances led to the European champions' downfall, with only one win from seven games.

Amid rumours of an exit, it was an embarrassing 5-1 Clasico defeat to arch rivals Barcelona that led the club to sack the 52-year-old.

Santiago Solari has since taken over the team, and is still trying to handle the transition that came with the exits of Cristiano Ronaldo and Zinedine Zidane.

The heart of the matter

Months after his sacking, Lopetegui has finally opened up about his time at Real Madrid, stating that it was difficult for him to leave the World Cup and immediately join a new team.


Speaking to BBC, he said, "I didn't sleep; I didn't know where I was. One day I was in Russia training for the World Cup, the next I was in the Santiago Bernabeu with a new team."

"It was very fast, difficult to take in and the emotions were high. It was hard to be told to leave the World Cup, it was a dream that I had worked so hard for and with all this emotion, I am human, so sometimes you can't control it."

Lopetegui went on to blame the lack of time for the eventual downfall, saying, "We had a good start, the team was playing well but then we had three very bad weeks. You just hope you have time to find a solution because these things can balance out over a season. We were sure this situation was going to pass."

"I didn't have time, that is the best way I can explain it."

Despite the horrid stint, Lopetegui still believes managing Real Madrid was a "fantastic experience".

"I have all respect for the new coach [Santiago Solari], his new staff. And the players - I love them, they had a fantastic attitude with me.

"I would never say a bad word about Real Madrid. To manage the club is a fantastic experience for any coach. I hoped I could have more time but I have to look to the future."

What's next?

Under Solari, Real Madrid have closed in on LaLiga table-toppers Barcelona, and are currently sitting in second place, six points away from the top.

After their controversial Champions League win over Ajax this week, the European champions will next face Girona in the league on Sunday.

Published 14 Feb 2019, 14:05 IST
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